A judge has refused to release bodycam footage of Andrew Brown Jr. being shot dead by police to the media after a prosecutor said he hit deputies with his car before they fired the shots that killed him.
Brown, 42, was shot and killed by police in Elizabeth City, North Carolina at 8.30 am on April 21 while at the wheel of his car in his driveway. Police are yet to release bodycam footage of the incident; his family has called it an execution.
Judge Jeffrey Foster denied a media petition to release the footage publicly Wednesday, April 28, 2021, saying it would impede the ongoing investigation.
Brown’s family will be allowed to watch redacted footage from four body cameras, according to reports. Their attorney said up to eight officers were at the scene. The family can watch the footage but not take copies.
District Attorney Andrew Womble had earlier told the judge that he viewed body camera video and disagreed with characterization by attorneys for the family of Brown Jr. that his car was stationary when the shooting started.
Womble said the video shows that Brown´s car made contact with law enforcement twice before shots could be heard on the video.
‘As it backs up, it does make contact with law enforcement officers,’ he said, adding that the car stops again.
‘The next movement of the car is forward. It is in the direction of law enforcement and makes contact with law enforcement. It is then and only then that you hear shots.’
Womble argued that body camera video from the shooting, a portion of which was shown to the family on Monday, should be kept from the public for another month so that state investigators can make progress on their probe of the shooting.
The FBI launched a civil rights probe Tuesday into the death of Brown Jr., as his family released an independent autopsy showing he was shot five times, including in the back of the head.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called for a special prosecutor while pressure built on authorities to release body camera footage of last week’s shooting.