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Andrew Brown's Family Views Longer Video Footage Of Fatal Shooting

An image of Andrew Brown Jr. at a memorial on Saturday.
Gerry Broome
An image of Andrew Brown Jr. at a memorial on Saturday.

After weeks of legal maneuvers, Andrew Brown Jr.'s family finally had the opportunity on Tuesday to see more of the last moments of the 42-year-old's life before he was shot and killed by sheriff's deputies in Elizabeth City, N.C., last month.

Questions about Brown's death have persisted since the Black man was shot and killed in his car by Pasquotank County sheriff's deputies as they arrived to carry out search and arrest warrants related to drug-related charges. It was on April 21, just hours after former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd.

Brown's eldest son, Khalik Ferebee said the videos he was shown on Tuesday are similar to those brief snippets he'd already been shown.

"The video I seen last week is pretty much the same as what I've seen today. Just a few more details," Ferebee said.

"But he wasn't in the wrong," he said of his father. "What's in the dark is going to come to the light. ... He is going to get his justice because it wasn't right."

Brown's younger son, Jha'rod Ferebee, also characterized the fatal shooting as an excessive use of force. "My father ... did not deserve to be killed. ... He did not pose any threat at all.

A trial, he said, will prove that the killing was "in no way justified."

"There is no way possible," he added.

Bakari Sellers, one of several lawyers representing the Brown family reminded reporters and others watching the press conference of the trauma experienced by family as they are subjected to watching their loved ones die on police camera footage.

"My heart goes out to these two young men who had to witness on video, the murder of their father. They had to go through and endure something over the last two hours that not many of us can ever imagine."

Although the family only received access to about 20 minutes worth of video footage out of approximately two hours, Sellers said, "We feel as if it tells the entire story of what happened that day."

"What we saw on that video was an unjustified killing" that he said "denotes further investigation and does have some criminal liability."

Until now, Brown's immediate family had only been granted access to a 20-second clip of body camera footage of the fatal shooting. After an independent autopsy commissioned by the family, they described his death as an execution. The exam showed Brown was struck by five bullets, including the one to the back of his head that killed him.

No footage has yet been released to the public.

Pasquotank County sheriff's officials have defended their decision to send a seven-member team to arrest Brown on a drug warrant, pointing to his criminal record and history of resisting arrest.

Court documentsapproving the release of footage to Brown's son Khalil Ferebee states there are five body and dashboard camera videos that have been reviewed by Judge Jeffery Foster. It says that when the deputies arrived "Brown attempted to flee the scene and escape apprehension." That allegedly led at least one and as many as three officers to fire at Brown in the car.

The videos range in length from 3 minutes and 1 second to 34 minutes and 58 seconds. Of all of the available footage, Forster ruled only the three minute video will be released in its entirety and under two minutes of the longest of the five videos will be shown to the family. Of the others only about 4 and a half minutes will be disclosed.

Neither the family nor their attorneys will be allowed to make copies of any of the materials.

The killing by the North Carolina sheriff's department is the latest in a national series of fatal officer-involved incidents that have set off protests demanding law enforcement and social justice reforms.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.
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