By Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice on April 24, 2021
In a video posted this afternoon, Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten II announced he will ask a judge to release body camera footage of the fatal April 21 shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. in Elizabeth City if the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) assures them such a release will not hamper its investigation.
In a brief two-and-a-half-minute video released on April 24, Wooten said he has “asked the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation to confirm to me the releasing of the video will not undermine their investigation. Once I get that confirmation, our county will file a motion in court, hopefully Monday, to have the footage released.” The SBI is currently conducting the investigation into the shooting.
Since the April 21 incident, pressure has quickly built for a public release of the body camera footage, with law enforcement agencies stating that under North Carolina law, it can only be made public by court order. In an emergency meeting on April 23, the Elizabeth City Council unanimously voted to send a formal letter seeking the release of the footage to Wooten’s office, the SBI and District Attorney Andrew Womble and then to send it to Superior Court if the request was denied by the law enforcement agencies.
Also in the April 24 video, Pasquotank County Chief Deputy Daniel Fogg announced that the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office has asked the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association to appoint outside personnel to come to Pasquotank “to do an internal affairs investigation of everyone involved in the incident…to see if any disciplinary action needs to be taken.” It has been widely reported that seven Pasquotank deputies have been place on administrative leave and that two more have resigned and one has retired since the shooting incident.
“We know people want answers,” said Wooten in the video. “We know you are angry.” And he concluded by saying, “We want transparency, accountability and peace.”