ELIZABETH CITY, NC – Family and friends of Andrew Brown Jr. gathered at a funeral service on Monday to honor the life of the man shot dead by North Carolina sheriff’s deputies last month in a case that drew national attention amid calls for accountability and transparency. .
Brown, 42, who was black, 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 offenses in drug cases at his home in Elizabeth City.
Reverend Al Sharpton is set to deliver the eulogy at the invitation-only funeral at noon Monday. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is part of a team of lawyers representing Brown’s family, and the Reverend William Barber II, leader of the Poor Campaign, will also make remarks.
Brown’s loved ones and the public paid tribute on Sunday during a visit to a funeral home in nearby Hertford. Brown’s coffin was open from the waist and a thin veil covered his face.
This week, Brown’s family are expected to see more bodycam videos of his death on April 21. A judge ruled last week not to release the footage to the public, but that Brown’s family should see more than the brief edited clip that had already been shown to them.
“My dad was executed just for trying to save his own life,” Khalil Ferebee, one of Brown’s children, said after watching the 20-second 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. Judge Jeff Foster said he would reassess whether or not to release the footage within 30 to 45 days, after the State Bureau of Investigation completes its investigation into the case and the district attorney. district can make 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.
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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