By Outer Banks Voice on April 30, 2021
With the funeral for Andrew Brown Jr. slated for Monday in Elizabeth City, top officials at three local colleges and universities issued a statement on April 30 calling for “grace and patience.”
The funeral will be held May 3 at noon on at the Fountain of Life Church in Elizabeth City with Rev. Al Sharpton delivering the eulogy. Brown was fatally shot in his vehicle on April 21 in Elizabeth City as Pasquotank Sheriff Deputies were serving a felony drug arrest warrant.
“Our prayers are with friends and neighbors who are grieving the loss of Andrew Brown, Jr; we share your mourning,” said the April 30 statement signed by College of The Albemarle President Jack Bagwell, Chancellor of Elizabeth City State University Kerrie G. Dixon, and Mid Atlantic Christian University President John W. Maurice.
“Our hearts are with the demonstrators calling for transparency and accountability; we share your hopes. And our thanks are with the city officials and public safety officers who are working diligently to protect our community and ensure the right to free speech; we share your commitment to Elizabeth City,” the statement continued. “As educators, citizens, and leaders of this region’s colleges and universities, we ask everyone to join with us as we endeavor to approach the coming days with grace and patience.”
For its part, Elizabeth City eased restrictions somewhat today moving back the start of its overnight curfew by four hours – until 12 a.m. Starting April 30, the curfew will now be in effect from midnight to 6 a.m., with exceptions allowed only for traveling to or from work or for emergencies.
Pasquotank Sheriff Tommy Wooten II has identified the seven deputies who were placed on administrative leave after the Brown shooting. He also stated that after examining body camera footage of the incident, “it’s obvious that four of the deputies never fired their weapons and deserve to be reinstated to active duty.” Those four deputies are Lt. Steven Judd, Sgt. Michael Swindell, Sgt. Kenneth Bishop and Sgt. Joel Lunsford. The three deputies who fired their weapons and remain on leave are Investigator Daniel Meads, Deputy Robert Morgan and Cpl. Aaron Lewellyn.
The Pasquotank County website has also started a ‘Check the Facts’ feature which the county says is designed to “correct any rumors that are circulating” about the Brown case.
One example is the statement, designated as “False Internet Rumor,” that deputies just had a search warrant and not an arrest warrant for Brown. The county responds that a “Superior Court Judge signed a search warrant and an arrest warrant for Mr. Brown,” and provides a link for viewing the search warrant.
Another example, also labelled as a “False Internet Rumor,” is the assertion that what happened to Brown was “an execution” and that he was “murdered”—charges that have been levelled by attorneys for the Brown family, among others.
The county’s response is that “this is unproven hyperbole that only inflames the community and — should this matter ever go to court — could bias potential jurors and perhaps interfere with a fair trial for anyone involved.”