ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) — There have been protests in Elizabeth City for more than 70 straight days after Andrew Brown Jr. was shot and killed by Pasquotank County deputies in late April.
Five of the protesters made their first court appearances Thursday. They are facing a variety of charges — such as unlawful assembly, curfew violations, not dispersing — and not all are accused of the same offense.
“It was horrible,” said protester Valerie Lindsey. “I don’t understand it at all, because we’ve been peaceful the whole time.”
“It was utterly ridiculous, but if you align yourself with Black causes, you will be treated like Black people,” added protester Jessica Kelly.
The marches though the Elizabeth City streets began after Brown’s April 21 death. He was shot and killed as he tried to drive away from a home on Perry Street where investigators were serving search and arrest warrants.
Seven deputies were involved, and three fired their weapons. Four returned to work quickly, which the other three were allowed to come back weeks later. The sheriff said they would be disciplined and retrained.
Community members are calling for justice and more transparency. They are protesting to make their point clear.
“We need those that killed Andrew Brown held accountable,” Lindsey said. “We need them to be charged and go to prison.”
“You never think that in the position that we are in, in 2021, that we would be fighting for our rights to be able to protest,” added protester Deshawn Morris.
Organizations like the ACLU and Emancipate NC are in town to make sure the protesters’ rights weren’t violated.
“There was no property damage and I think it is egregious actually for these folks that were exercising their constitutional right to protest to be facing criminal charges,” said Dawn Blagrove from Emancipate North Carolina.
The next big court date will be July 12 when nearly two dozen protesters who were arrested will make their first court appearances.