ELIZABETH CITY, NC – Andrew Brown Jr., the black man shot dead by North Carolina Sheriff’s deputies last month, was recalled as a loving father during a funeral service Monday where officers of the Civil Rights continued their calls for the bodycam video of Brown’s death to be released.
Brown, 42, was shot five times, including one in the back of the head as deputies from the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office served search and arrest warrants related to alleged drug offenses at her home in Elizabeth City on April 21.
Brown’s family have seen an edited clip of his death, but a judge has ordered the full body camera video not to be made public.
“I know a con game when I see it,” Al Sharpton said in a eulogy Monday. “Release the whole gang and let people see what happened to Andrew Brown.”
In his remarks, Sharpton criticized local authorities in North Carolina, likening their actions to unfair “shell play”.
“You don’t need time to take out a tape. Put it on. Let the world see what it is to see. If you have nothing to hide, then what are you hiding?” Sharpton said.
Despite the search and arrest warrants, Sharpton and the Reverend William Barber II, leader of the Campaign for the Poor, said Brown should not have been killed.
“Andrew was a black man trying to become a society where black men were born in danger,” Barber said.
The service featured songs and memories shared by members of Brown’s family. Also in attendance were George Floyd’s siblings, Eric Garner’s mother, Daunte Wright’s family and other families who have lost loved ones to the police murders.
“This has to stop. Enough is enough. How many funerals do we have to have before we tell Congress and the Senate that you have to do something about these times,” Sharpton said in calling for passage of the Judge George Floyd in the Police Services Act.
Brown was a proud father of seven and remembered as the “coolest cousin” by Elton Ferebee. Another family member, Sandra White, said Brown loved and cared for her children.
Brown’s two adult sons also remembered their father in their reflections. Jha’rod Ferebee said he and his father were best friends.
“Every time you see it, you see me, and every time you see me, you see it,” he said. “I remember growing up, no one could say anything bad to me about my daddy.”
“He would have loved it,” Khalil Ferebee said of the service. “I just wish he was here with us.”
“He is here. His physical being is not here but he is here with us,” added Jha’rod Ferebee.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump also spoke and was joined on stage by other attorneys representing the family, including Harry Daniels and Bakari Sellers.
“We are here to argue for justice because Andrew was killed without justification,” Crump said. “Because Andrew can’t advocate for justice, it’s up to us to advocate for justice.”
Learn more about Andrew Brown Jr .:Family continue to wait for full video of Brown’s death
Experts:Police fuel outrage over Andrew Brown Jr. death by withholding information
This week, Brown’s family are expected to see more bodycam videos of his death. When Judge Jeff Foster ruled last week not to release the footage to the public, he also ordered Brown’s family to see more than the 20-second clip they had already shown.
“My dad was executed just for trying to save his own life,” Khalil Ferebee said last week after watching the clip. “These officers didn’t hurt him at all. ”
Brown’s family and protesters have demanded that the entire footage be made public, but North Carolina law requires the judge to do so. Foster said he would reassess whether or not to release the footage within 30 to 45 days, after the State Investigation Bureau completes its investigation into the case and the district attorney can take any potential impeachment decision.
A coalition of media organizations, including USA TODAY’s parent company Gannett, demanded the video’s release, but Foster ruled the media lacked standing.
Chantel Cherry-Lassiter, a lawyer who was shown the body camera clip alongside her family, said the video shows Brown with his hands on the wheel of his car and not a threat to MPs. She says the footage shows MPs running towards Brown’s car during filming, and that “he finally decides to try to get away and he backs up, not going towards the officers at all.”
District Attorney Andrew Womble called Cherry-Lassiter’s account “patently false.” Womble says Brown’s vehicle is seen in contact with officers. “It is then and only then that you hear gunshots,” Womble said.
Last Thursday, Sheriff Tommy Wooten released the names of seven MPs involved in the fatal shooting.
All seven were placed on administrative leave after the shooting, but a review of body camera images shows four of the MPs never fired a weapon, Wooten said in the statement. These deputies were reinstated in active service.
Contributing: John Bacon, USA TODAY; The Associated Press