Andrew Brown Jr. family lawyer says DA “cherry-picked” evidence in shooting

An attorney for the family of Andrew Brown Jr., who was shot and killed by North Carolina sheriff’s deputies in his car last month, says District Attorney Andrew Womble did not tell the full story when he announced in a Tuesday press conference that the shooting was “justified” and officers would not be charged.

“The DA, he cherry-picked what he wanted to show. But what he picked still shows an unjustified shooting,” civil rights lawyer Harry Daniels said in an interview on CBSN Wednesday.

 “He wants you to believe what he is saying, not what you see.”

Brown, a 42-year-old Black man, was shot and killed in April in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, when sheriff’s deputies who were serving felony warrants and a search warrant surrounded his car. Authorities initially refused to make body camera video of the incident public, and the shooting and accusations of a lack of transparency sparked protests. 

Womble showed portions of the video publicly for the first time at Tuesday’s press conference. He said his office’s investigation determined that the deputies involved in the shooting were justified in using deadly force, and that the video showed Brown was using his car as a “deadly weapon” against the officers.

The car is seen moving close to several officers before they opened fire, and it sped away and crashed. Officers can be seen firing their weapons even after the car drove past them.

“Once he got past officers and they continued to shoot and fire their weapons, you have force continuum. You cannot continue to shoot in perpetuity just because you believe this person was a threat at some point,” Daniels said.

Brown was unarmed at the time, and after being shown the video last week his family compared the killing to an “execution.”

“Anybody who believed Mr. Brown used that vehicle as a weapon — you are the problem of what’s wrong with America today,” Daniels said. “So I will speak directly to the district attorney: If he thinks that vehicle was weaponized, then he is the problem with what is wrong with America today and why we continue to have no accountability for the killing of unarmed people in America.”

Brown’s family’s attorneys also petitioned in court for the full, unredacted footage of the incident to be made public.

“There is no reason for them to keep the video at this point, considering the DA said he is not going to press any charges,” Daniels said.

He argued the video would show the killing was “not even close” to justified.

“If you listen to somebody giving their narration, they only show you bits and pieces, and they say ‘Look, here, he was coming at an officer’ and pause it. But when you look at the totality of the entire video, of what he showed in the continuous running, you won’t see it. We will not see a justified shooting. I don’t think — honestly, I don’t even think it is a close call,” Daniels said.

He said he hopes a court would decide based on the “objective evidence” that Brown should not have been killed. 

“I believe, once the courts, the Supreme Court or the district court of North Carolina, the court of appeals, whatever court we end up being in, will look at this video and see there was no imminent threat,” he said. “In fact, there was no threat.”

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