A federal investigation has begun into the shooting death of Andrew Brown Jr. at the hands of police, MSNBC reports. The FBI will be looking into whether Brown’s civil rights were violated during the incident that ended with him being killed last week in Elizabeth City, North Carolina when he was shot five times by Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies who were executing a warrant.
The FBI has announced it is opening a civil rights investigation into the death of Andrew Brown, “to determine whether federal laws were violated," according to the Associated Presshttps://t.co/niF5Vd1TFT
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) April 27, 2021
According to the death certificate, the 42-year-old man died from a gunshot wound to the back of the head as he tried to drive away from police.
During a press conference Tuesday, lawyers for the Brown family released the results of an independent autopsy that they say showed Brown was shot five times, including four times in the arm. Wayne Kendall, an attorney for the Brown family, said Andrew Brown tried to escape out of fear. “He was trying to run because he was scared for his life,” Kendall said. Another lawyer working with the family says Brown was unarmed at the time he was fatally shot by police.
The Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Department has come under heavy criticism for refusing to release much information about the shooting. Authorities say they are legally prevented from publicly releasing body camera footage without a court order, but lawyers for the Brown family say the department refused to show them all but 20 seconds of body-cam footage from one of the deputies at the scene of the shooting. What they saw further convinced the family that Brown’s death could have been prevented.
“Yesterday, I said I thought he was executed,” Brown’s son Khalil Ferebee said at Tuesday’s press conference. “It’s obvious he was trying to get away. It’s obvious. And they’re going to shoot him in the back of the head?”
A number of media outlets have petitioned to have the body-cam footage released publicly.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has also weighed in and called for special oversight into the case.
Gov. Roy Cooper asks for special prosecutor in Andrew Brown Jr. shooting https://t.co/1OBe4Rc6ms
— WRAL NEWS in NC (@WRAL) April 27, 2021
So far, seven deputies who were at the scene have been placed on administrative leave as an investigation takes place. Two others quit, and another retired.