April 26 (UPI) — Bodycam video of the police-involved death of a Black North Carolina man shows he was shot to death while his hands were on the steering wheel of his car, family members said Monday.
The family of Andrew Brown Jr., 42, of Elizabeth City, N.C., told reporters that a 20-second snippet of body-camera footage they were allowed to see appeared to show Brown was not posing a threat to Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies before he was shot to death Wednesday while sitting in a car in his driveway.
“Andrew had his hands on his steering wheel,” family attorney Chantel Cherry-Lassiter said during a press briefing outside the sheriff’s office. “He was not reaching for anything, he wasn’t touching anything.”
Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten and Chief Deputy Daniel Fogg said in a video statement issued the day after the shooting that deputies were attempting to serve him with an arrest warrant for felony drug charges.
Brown had a “history of resisting arrest,” Fogg said. “Our training and our policies indicate that under such circumstances, there is a high risk of danger.”
A search warrant affidavit filed Monday showed Brown was accused of selling a range of illegal drugs, including cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.
Few details about the incident have been released, however, and pressure has mounted as family members demanded to see the video footage.
Keith Rivers, the president of the Pasquotank County Chapter of the NAACP, held a press conference Saturday criticizing Wooten for failing to release the footage.
Elizabeth City Mayor Bettie Parker declared a state of emergency early Monday, fearing civil unrest as authorities prepared to show the video to Brown’s family members. She also announced the city would file a formal request with the sheriff’s office for the public release of the footage.
Cherry-Lassiter said Monday the heavily redacted version shown to the family by Pasquotank County Attorney Michael Cox revealed that Brown’s car was boxed in by law enforcement vehicles and that he was fired upon before attempting to escape.
“His car was riddled with bullets, shooting him when he was not threatening them in any form or fashion,” she said. “There were shell casings before he even backed out. So they were shooting at him when he was sitting there with his hands on the steering wheel in the driveway.”