Andrew Brown Jr’s shooting ‘justified’, no charges filed: DA

Three deputies involved in the shooting will not face charges from county officials after prosecutorial probe.

Reverend Al Sharpton delivers the eulogy at the funeral for Andrew Brown Jr in Elizabeth City, North Carolina on May 3, 2021 [File: Jonathan Drake/Reuters]

Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble announced on Tuesday he has deemed as “justified” the shooting of Andrew Brown Jr, a Black man killed on April 21 by sheriff’s deputies attempting to serve search and arrest warrants, and no charges will be filed.

Brown, 42, was fatally shot during the morning raid at his home in Elizabeth City, a riverfront community where just over half of the roughly 18,000 residents are Black.

“Mr Brown’s death was justified,” Womble told reporters at a news briefing in which he also showed images taken from the body-worn cameras of the officers at the scene.

Brown was in his car as deputies attempted to arrest him. The car drove away as law enforcement screamed for him to stop.

As it drove away, the car swerved and came close to touching one of the deputies at low speed, then sped off. The deputies fired.

Author and historian Tim Tyson displays a Black Lives Matter flag at a protest 11 days after the killing of Andrew Brown Jr in Elizabeth City, North Carolina on May 2, 2021 [File: Jonathan Drake/Reuters]

After the shots were fired, Brown’s car appears to have run into something, causing it to stop with a crunching sound.

“The deputies in this case perceived a threat, and immediately fire their weapon to neutralise the threat”, Womble said. “[D]eadly force may be used if it appears to be reasonably necessary to protect against deadly force.”

Womble further cited Brown’s criminal history, saying he was known to officers as having arrests and convictions dating back to 1995, including assault with a deadly weapon.

Investigator Daniel Meads, Deputy Robert Morgan and Corporal Aaron Lewellyn have been on leave since the shooting. The sheriff’s office said Morgan is Black, while Meads and Lewellyn are white.

The killing under unclear circumstances has captured national attention. It occurred a day after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd in a highly publicised trial.

Chauvin’s conviction has caused hope for reform among anti-police brutality activists. Chauvin’s lawyer has asked for a new trial, citing prosecutorial misconduct, among other reasons.

Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who is representing Brown’s family, said deputies “executed” Brown with a “kill shot” to his skull as he was driving away.

Ben Crump, a lawyer working for Brown’s family, points to a diagram of the fatal gunshot in the back of Brown’s head at a news conference announcing findings from an independent autopsy in Elizabeth City, North Carolina on April 27, 2021 [File: Jonathan Drake/Reuters]

Womble said autopsy results had yet to be finalised, but confirmed Brown “suffered two gunshot wounds. One to the right shoulder upper arm that was non-lethal and a second wound to the back of the head at the base of the skull near the hairline.”

Still, the shots were justified “to prevent potential harm to those living near where the incident occurred, as well as other pedestrians”, Womble said.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies