Andrew Brown police shooting sees seven deputies suspended and three resign as pressure mounts to release bodycam vid
AFTER two days of protests since Andrew Brown Jr, a black father of 10, was shot dead by a North Carolina deputy, seven officers have been placed on administrative leave and three others resigned.
“I’m working tirelessly to make sure this sheriff’s office stays afloat,” Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office Tommy Wooten told WAVY.com on Friday after confirming the total number of deputies (including the deputy who fired the fateful round that killed Brown) were off patrol pending the outcome of a state's investigation.
“We have other sheriff’s offices coming in and rotating shifts with my people.”
Of the three deputies returning to become civilians — Wooten said one was nearing retirement and none were directly involved in Wednesday's deadly shooting, the television station reported.
None of the three were directly involved in Brown’s fatal shooting.
Brown, who fathered 10 kids, was confronted by a Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office deputy attempting to serve him a warrant at around 8.30am on Wednesday.
The deputy fired a gun while the 40-year-old man was allegedly driving away from his Elizabeth City, North Carolina home.
Witnesses at the time reported hearing six to eight shots ring out when the deputy pulled the fateful trigger.
One of them was Demetria Williams, a neighbor of the late Brown, who recalled hearing the crackle of gunfire that morning.
When she came outside she saw deputies attempt to resuscitate the man.
She also counted 14 shell casings scattered on the ground and noticed Brown's car windshield was shattered.
“I got down there and they were shooting at the car,” Williams told the Raleigh News & Observer. “He didn’t get far because the sheriff deputies were in the driveway.
"He was getting away. He wasn’t a threat.”
Wooten has been under pressure to release the deputy's body camera video from the deadly encounter with Brown.
Even Gov. Roy Cooper joined in the chorus calling for its release footage, WAVY reported.
Wooten assured that it could be released within the next couple days, according to the television news station.
North Carolina law requires that in order to release critical evidence such as body camera footage, a court order must be issued.
“Recordings in the custody of a law enforcement agency shall only be released pursuant to court order,” the law reads.
Since news of Brown’s death circulated, the city, with just over 17,000 residents located almost 50 miles south of Norfolk, Virginia, has been swept up in consecutive days of protests.
Shortly after the news of Brown’s demise was spreading, a crowd marched on the downtown streets chanting: “Say his name! Andrew Brown!” and “Hands up! Don’t shoot!”, the Raleigh News & Observer reported.
On Friday, Sheriff Wooten appeared in a recorded public meeting alongside local clergy in an attempt to advocate for peace.
“We hear you,” he said, addressing the public directly. “We feel your pain.
"We know there is a lot of hurt in this community. We want the transparency you want. There will be accountability.”
After extending his condolences to the family of Andrew Brown family, calling Wednesday a “tragic day” — the sheriff’s vowed that he wouldn't hesitate to reprimand any of his fellow officers if they are found culpable in Brown’s death.
“If any of my deputies broke any laws or violated any policies that come out through this investigation, they will be held accountable,” he said during the meeting. “It's what’s the city expects of me.
“It's my job as a leader and it's the right thing to do.”
Brown’s homicide case is being probed by the State Bureau of Investigation.
Wooten noted that his department is completely hands-off any internal investigation.
“I also will be calling in SBI to do our internal investigation,” he said. “This is to get my sheriff’s office out of it completely.
“That is solely due to accountability.”
The fatal shooting of Brown is already drawing parallels to the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, who was killed by police officer Kimberly Potter's gunshots during a traffic stop just over a week ago.
That came just a day after former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all counts of murder and manslaughter of George Floyd.
Just minutes ahead of the historic verdict, 16-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant was shot and killed by an officer in Columbus, Ohio, during a confrontation where Bryant was allegedly wielding a knife in a skirmish with another woman.
The graphic bodycam footage of the shooting was swiftly released by officials, showing the white cop, who was identified as Nicholas Reardon, open fire on the youngster.
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