WBTV part of media coalition petitioning for release of body cam video in N.C. police shooting

Man killed by Pasquotank Co. deputy identified
Man killed by Pasquotank Co. deputy identified(WITN)
Updated: Apr. 23, 2021 at 6:51 PM EDT
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ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WBTV/WITN) - WBTV is part of a large media coalition petitioning for the release of body cam video in the fatal police shooting of a man in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

Sheriff Tommy Wooten says seven deputies were put on administrative leave, and three of those have since resigned, all over the deadly shooting of Andrew Brown, Jr.

Wooten is coming under increasing pressure to release body camera video of the shooting that happened during the execution of a search warrant Wednesday morning on Perry Street in Elizabeth City.

The large media coalition includes several other TV outlets, radio, newspaper and online publications petitioning to obtain law enforcement recordings of the officer-involved shooting of Brown in Pasquotank County, North Carolina on Wednesday, April 21, 2021.

The coalition includes Gray sister stations WECT and WITN as well as news partners The Charter Observer and Spectrum.

Brown was killed Wednesday morning by Pasquotank County deputies as they tried to serve a search warrant on Perry Street. Police radio traffic said Brown was shot in the back.

Under North Carolina law, law enforcement body camera footage can only be released by a court order.

Elizabeth City council unanimously voted Friday afternoon to formally ask that the body camera footage be released. At an emergency city council meeting, the city voted to send a letter to the sheriff, the district attorney, and the SBI asking the footage be released. If denied, the city okayed the next step of going before a judge to force the release.

Governor Roy Cooper also called for the body camera footage to be made public as quickly as possible.

“Initial reports of the shooting in Elizabeth City and death of Andrew Brown, Jr. this week are tragic and extremely concerning. The body camera footage should be made public as quickly as possible and the SBI should investigate thoroughly to ensure accountability,” Gov. Cooper said.

The shooting death of Brown has sparked two nights of protests in the Elizabeth City, amid calls that authorities release more information about how the man was shot by Pasquotank County deputies.

While WITN has asked for the release of 911 calls and radio traffic recordings from the Pasquotank County 911 Center, has posted what they say are the recordings from Wednesday morning.

“Deputy: Central, advise EMS that we have a male, 42 years of age, gunshot to the back. We do have a vital pulse at this time.”

Several minutes earlier, 911 alerted Elizabeth City police about the shooting.

“911: Can you respond to 421 Perry Street, we have shots fired. We have shots fired. EMS and fire is en route.”

WITN has received no response from Pasquotank County on our request for the recordings, which are public records under North Carolina law.

Sheriff Tommy Wooten has only said Brown was shot by his deputies during the execution of a search warrant of which Brown was the subject. On Thursday, a neighbor told WITN that Brown was shot by a deputy as he was driving away.

The SBI is investigating the shooting.

Copyright 2021 WBTV. All rights reserved. WITN contributed to this article.