Activists hold press conference, march to mark 100 days since Andrew Brown Jr.’s death

North Carolina

Protesters march along the streets to protest the shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. in Elizabeth City, N.C., Wednesday, April 28, 2021. A judge denied the request to immediately release body cam video of the incident. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) — Activists held a commemorative march and press conference on Thursday to mark 100 days of protest since the death of Andrew Brown Jr. at the hands of Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

Brown was killed April 21 outside a home on Perry Street as deputies attempted to serve drug-related search and arrest warrants. He was shot as he attempted to drive away from the scene after deputies surrounded his vehicle.

The press conference started around 4:30 p.m. at 200 East Colonial Street in Elizabeth City, and was followed by the march. After the march, the community dedicated a Black Lives Matter memorial.

The event included speeches from Minister Corine Mack of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg branch of the NAACP, Gerald D. Givens, Jr. of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP, Danielle Brown of the NC Black Voters Matter, a family member of Brown, and Keith Rivers of the Pasquotank County branch of the NAACP.

The Pasquotank NAACP is also calling for the development of a community review commission to review policing and employment practices by the sheriff’s department.

Read the Pasquotank NAACP’s full statement on the review board

Community leaders plan to hold weekly protests, including business boycotts and sit-ins until the demands they’re asking for are met.

Senior Citizens for Justice also held a sit-in at the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office Thursday, demanding to speak to Sheriff Tommy Wooten II and District Attorney Andrew Womble.

In mid-May, Womble said he determined the shooting was justified because the three deputies who fired their weapons had reasonable belief that their lives were or could be in danger.

The shooting and the following determination from Womble that the shooting was justified sparked outrage from the community.

Protesters and Brown’s family also demanded the release of body camera and dashcam footage from the shooting.

North Carolina law requires a Superior Court judge to approve a petition for the release of the body camera footage. After Womble said the shooting was justified, Sheriff Wooten himself filed a petition asking for its release.

While Brown’s family was able to privately view the footage, it still hasn’t been released to the public. It was shown during a Pasquotank District Attorney’s Office press conference, but the files were not released publicly beyond that.

10 On Your Side spoke with protesters about their demands. They said the sheriff didn’t come out today to meet with protesters, but his office said it’s not that he didn’t want to — it’s because he can’t comment since the Brown family is suing him. The family filed a wrongful death lawsuit earlier this month.

After waiting over three hours, Morrison and others didn’t see the sheriff today. Protestors say that won’t stop them from demanding answers.

“As long as it takes to see him. And to get our demands. We’ll, we’ll come back again, and again and again,” protester Cheryl Morrison.

They echoed calls to see the full body camera video — for the sheriff and district attorney to resign — and for the deputies involved to be fired.

But they do say they’re inspired by the support of state lawmakers.

“The governor has come to Elizabeth City and the governor has said that a special prosecutor is needed in these cases. That the video law needs to be on the table,” Keith Rivers, president of the Pasquotank County NAACP, said.

A rally this afternoon reiterated their calls for changes outside the sheriff’s office. If no changes are made, organizers say it’s about making changes at the polls.

“The importance of getting out and voting. That local, that elections are local and it’s very important to understand that local elections are important,” Rivers said.

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