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The bodycam video showed Andrew Brown Jr. with his hands on the car wheel before NC MPs shot him, the family says

The family of a North Carolina man who was shot dead by sheriff’s MPs said Monday they were shown just 20 seconds of body camera video that appeared to show the man with his hands on the steering wheel of his car before he was killed.

The relatives of Andrew Brown Jr., 42, expected the bodycam video to be shown shortly before noon Monday, but the ad was pushed back a few hours due to editors requested by the prosecutor, family lawyers said.

But even in 20 seconds of video, Brown’s loved ones said it was clear he posed no threat to law enforcement and shouldn’t be gunned down.

“My father was executed just to save his own life,” son Khalil Ferebee told reporters outside the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office. “It’s not right. It’s not right at all.”

Family attorney Chantel Cherry-Lassiter said the video showed Brown in his vehicle when it was blocked by law enforcement in the Elizabeth City driveway, making it impossible to escape. NBC News did not see the video.

“Andrew had his hands on the wheel. He wasn’t reaching for anything. He wasn’t touching anything,” she said.

“He had his hands tight on the steering wheel. They’re running to his vehicle shooting. He was still standing there, sitting in his vehicle, with his hands on the steering wheel while he was being shot at.”

When asked if Brown was shot in the back, Attorney Harry Daniels told The Associated Press, “Yes, back of the head.”

The family admitted Brown tried to drive away – but said he was shot at before attempting to flee. In the video, cartridge cases flew before his vehicle moved, Cherry-Lassiter said.

“His car was full of bullets that shot at him when he was not threatening them in any way,” she said. “There was a cartridge case before he even retreated. So they shot him while he was sitting there with his hands on the steering wheel in the driveway.”

Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy S. Wooten called the incident quick in a video statement late Monday, saying outside investigators are interviewing witnesses and gathering more information.

“That tragic incident quickly passed in less than 30 seconds, and body cameras are shaky and sometimes difficult to read,” said Wooten. “They only tell part of the story.”

The newsroom and the delay angered Brown’s family, especially in the face of an affidavit setting out the allegations against him and explaining why MPs wanted to arrest him.

“You published an arrest warrant that says all sorts of things about Andrew Brown, but you want to edit the faces of cops who killed Andrew Brown?” said Benjamin Crump, another lawyer who represents the family.

“Now Andrew Brown hasn’t killed anyone. The police killed Andrew Brown. But we’re going to protect them and not show their faces and not say their names so we can see what their rap sheet is,” he said.

Pasquotank District Attorney R. Michael Cox said in a statement earlier in the day that state law “allows us to blur some faces on video and that this process will take time.”

The family complained that they were shown 20 seconds of bodycam video by only one of at least eight responding MPs. No dash cam video was shown, they said.

Cox could not be immediately reached for comment late Monday afternoon.

Brown was killed Wednesday while MPs tried to serve a warrant for his arrest for drug crimes, authorities said. A search warrant affidavit released Monday accused Brown of selling cocaine, crack, meth and heroin.

The circumstances of his death remain unclear. Seven MPs were taken on administrative leave. Three have resigned; A sheriff’s office spokesman said her resignation had nothing to do with the shooting.

The shooting took place in a residential neighborhood in Elizabeth City, about 35 miles south of Norfolk, Virginia.

Earlier on Monday, Elizabeth City Mayor Bettie Parker had declared a state of emergency and a possible “phase of civil unrest” before the video was released. The video can only be published publicly by a judge.

The statement paves the way for the city to gain state and federal support “to protect our citizens,” said Parker.

Protesters took to the streets in Elizabeth City, a community of around 17,600 people, on Monday. Some said the edited video showed a cover-up, NBC subsidiary WAVY reported.

Brown was shot dead last week when a SWAT-style team tried to run the warrants, sheriff officials said. Brown was a convicted criminal with a history of resisting arrest, which meant the trial was at higher risk than others, authorities said.

Governor Roy Cooper said Brown’s death was “tragic and extremely worrying” and called for a state investigation “to ensure accountability”.

Phil Helsel contributed to this.


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