Elizabeth City declares State of Emergency before release of body camera video in Andrew Brown Jr. case
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WBTV/WITN) - Elizabeth City declared a State of Emergency Monday as the city awaits the release officer-worn camera footage in Andrew Brown Jr.’s shooting death.
Brown, 42, was fatally shot on Wednesday, April 21 after Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies arrived at his home to serve search and arrest warrants.
Ahead of the video release, Elizabeth City declared a State of Emergency.
Brown’s family was expected to view footage involving his shooting death at 11:30 a.m. Monday. The family’s attorney Harry Daniels said the family should be allowed to see the body camera footage without delay, but nothing is guaranteed.
It seems likely that the video and audio footage will be released in the very near future,” city officials stated in a declaration issuing the State of Emergency. “In order to ensure the safety of our citizens and their property, city officials realize there may potentially be a period of civil unrest within the city following the public release of that footage.”
The State of Emergency began at 8 a.m. Monday, April 26 and will continue “until deemed no longer necessary to protect our citizens” the declaration stated.
Citizens have the right to peacefully protest. There is no curfew, according to the Pasquotank County officials.
Under North Carolina law, the video can only be released by a judge. A petition must first be filed to the court and then be approved to release the video, which could take a matter of hours or days.
Chairman Lloyd Griffin asked the community in a press release on Sunday to be patient in the release of the body camera video involving the shooting death of Andrew Brown, Jr.
“Rushing the gathering of evidence and interviewing of witnesses would hurt any future legal case that might be brought in the wake of this tragedy,” Griffin said. “Justice, when done right, takes time.”
Griffin referenced the police shooting of Danquirs Franklin in Charlotte in 2019 and said it took three weeks for body camera footage of that to be legally released. Griffin said he hopes it doesn’t take that long for the Andrew Brown, Jr. body camera video to be released but said everyone must follow the legal procedures.
“The commissioners support Sheriff Wooten, who is trying to maintain public safety in our county while also being responsive to the needs of the Brown family and those concerned about this shooting,” Griffin said. “It’s easy to criticize and it’s hard to lead.”
The full statement can be read below:
Our entire county leadership grieves with the family of Andrew Brown, Jr., and our prayers go out to them. Everyone should want a thorough, fair, and proper investigation into exactly what happened when deputies attempted to serve the arrest warrant and search warrant at Mr. Brown’s home. Sadly, some irresponsible voices are calling for a rushed investigation and rush to judgement. Rushing the gathering of evidence and interviewing of witnesses would hurt any future legal case that might be brought in the wake of this tragedy. Justice, when done right, takes time. People — including some politicians — who want to score political points or become cable news celebrities too often forget that, which could negatively impact the investigation.
For example, in the tragic police shooting of Danquirs Franklin in Charlotte in 2019, it took three weeks before the body camera footage could be legally released. We all hope it won’t take that long in this case, but everyone must follow the legal procedures. Calling for North Carolina law to be ignored is irresponsible. We ask our community to be patient.
The commissioners support Sheriff Wooten, who is trying to maintain public safety in our county while also being responsive to the needs of the Brown family and those concerned about this shooting. It’s easy to criticize and it’s hard to lead.”
Chairman of the Pasquotank County Board of Commissioners
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