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Black Arts and Culture

Fatal Police Shooting of Black Man in Elizabeth City

By Jasmine Deloatch
Assistant Editor
New Journal and Guide

One day after Derek Chauvin was convicted for the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a Black man, by the name of Andrew Brown, age 42, was fatally shot by Pasquotank County’s sheriff’s deputies in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The event which has captured national attention was caught on tape via body camera.

According to the initial report, the deputies were attempting to serve Brown with an arrest warrant when the shooting occurred. While in dispatch audio, first responders are heard saying that a man had gunshot wounds to the back. However, his death certificate shows that his death was a result of a gunshot wound to the head.

Cherry-Lassiter, the family attorney, said that a 20-second video showed that the deputies shot at Brown as he sat in his vehicle with his hands on the steering wheel. She called this an “execution.”

According to CNN, attorneys for the family have alleged a lack of transparency and video footage. Cherry-Lassiter said that it can be assumed deputies on the scene were equipped with body cameras. Showing only a short video from one of the deputy’s cameras, was disrespectful.

Pasquotank Sheriff Tommy Wooten posted a statement to Facebook via video where he stated:

“This tragic incident was quick and over in less than 30 seconds, and the body cameras are shaky and sometimes hard to decipher. They only tell part of the story.”

Civil Rights attorney Ben Crump told CNN, “They are trying to hide something. They don’t want us to see everything.”

One of the family’s attorneys, Bakari Sellers, said that Pasquotank County Attorney attempted to prevent the attorneys’ viewing of the video. He said, “Mr. Cox told me, a grown Black man, that he was not f***ing going to be bullied.”

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Demonstrations were organized in Elizabeth City outside of Cox’s home and later marched toward the sheriff’s office, according to CNN.

“I want to see all these killings stop,” Khalil Ferebee, Andrew Brown’s son told CNN. “There’s too much going on in this world and we don’t need that. They are supposed to protect us but they are doing the harm. It’s got to stop somewhere.”

Sheriff Tommy Wooten shared that seven deputies were put on administrative leave, two resigned and one retired.

Elizabeth City declared a state of emergency on Monday morning April 26, out of concern that the video’s release could create unrest.

The city released an emergency proclamation that stated, “It seems likely that the video and audio footage will be released in the very near future. In order to ensure the safety of our citizens and their property, City officials realize there may be a potential period of unrest within the City following the public release of the footage.”

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