Leaders and protesters in a grieving North Carolina ward want to know what happened Wednesday morning when a MP executing a search warrant shot and killed a black man.
District Attorney Andrew Womble has promised “exact answers, not quick answers” as state investigators investigate why the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s deputy fatally shot Andrew Brown Jr. at around 8:30 am on Wednesday in Elizabeth City.
But crowds – dozens at the site of the shooting and, later, hundreds protesting on the city streets – are frustrated with the lack of details that have been made public. An eyewitness said Brown was shot multiple times while driving away.
“The people of Elizabeth City … they want a right to know what happened this morning,” Councilor Darius J. Horton said an emergency meeting of the Elizabeth City Council on Wednesday evening. A crowd gathered in front of the meeting, some with signs saying “Black Lives Matter”.
“There’s a moment of injury in Elizabeth City,” Horton said. The community, located about 170 miles northeast of Raleigh, is home to about 18,000 people – some of whom, according to Horton, believed that their community was free from police violence.
The investigative process, while necessary, adds “insult to the injury,” Horton said. The addition of body cam footage of the shooting should be released immediately.
“God knows what happened. God knows who did it, ”quotes WAVY-TV Martha McCullen, Brown’s aunt.
Brown, known by the neighbors as “Drew,” was not a violent person, Demetria Williams – a neighbor and witness – told The Associated Press.
“I didn’t think (officers) really did that because he wasn’t a threat to them. He drove off even though he was trying to escape, ”said Williams, who lives on the same street and was running out of her house, when she heard the gunshots.
The car skidded out of Brown’s yard and eventually hit a tree, Williams said.
Court records show that Brown was 42 years old and had a history of drug charges and a drug abuse conviction for a misdemeanor.
Racial justice advocates hoped this week’s guilty verdict against Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd would soon lead to major systemic changes. But in the past few days there have been fatal police shootings California, Ohio and now North Carolina has attracted national attention instead.
Among those who gathered at the site of the shooting was Keith Rivers, president of the Pasquotank County chapter of the NAACP.
“When will it stop? We just received a verdict yesterday, ”Rivers said in a telephone interview, referring to the guilty verdict against Chauvin. “Is the season open now? It has to stop at some point. We need to start holding those responsible to account. “
Brown’s grandmother Lydia Brown and aunt Clarissa Brown Gibson told The Associated Press that they learned of his death through a television news report. Both said they want to thoroughly investigate the shooting.
“I’m very angry. Andrew was a good person,” said Lydia Brown. The MP “didn’t have to shoot him like that.”
Alderman Gabriel Adkins noted that Brown was shot and killed by a county sheriff’s MP who was not a member of the city’s police force.
Adkins said he was afraid of becoming the next victim of police violence.
“Let’s be real. Are we talking about transparency? I will be transparent: As a black man, I am afraid of walking around this city and driving my car down the street, “he said.
Contributor: The Associated Press