Brown family has longer wait to see shooting video

By on May 7, 2021

North Carolina Superior Court Judge Jeffry Foster. (POOL PHOTO/file)

Update: Several media outlets are now reporting that Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten II has announced an agreement to show the family of Andrew Brown Jr. the body camera video on Tuesday, May 11.

An Order filed on May 6 by North Carolina Superior Court Judge Jeffry Foster restarts the clock on when the family of Andrew Brown Jr. can see excerpts of the body camera video that captured the fatal shooting of Brown in Elizabeth City on April 21.

Brown, 42, was shot in his vehicle by Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Deputies who were trying to serve a felony drug arrest warrant. Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten II has subsequently stated that three deputies fired their weapons. An autopsy commissioned by the Brown family concluded he was killed by a shot to the back of his head.

The Order by Foster also states that of the roughly two hours of footage captured that day on five deputies’ body cameras, the family will be able to see about 19 minutes. The judge said that the portions of the video being withheld “are found not to contain images of the deceased, and thus are not appropriate for disclosure at this time.”

The issue of the body camera footage has become a central component of this case, which has captured national attention and put the focus on the North Carolina law that says such video can only be released by a court order. Thus far, Brown’s family has only seen 20 seconds of footage from the shooting incident.

On April 28, after a request for release of the footage by a consortium of media outlets, Foster ruled that Brown’s family could see an edited version within 10 days. The Order from Foster states that such disclosure of the video to the family must now take place within 10 days of May 6.

In his April 28, ruling, Foster also denied the request to publicly release the footage, choosing to delay any release for anywhere from 30 to 45 days so that the investigation into the shooting by the NC State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) can be concluded.

In the meantime, opposition to the state law requiring a court order to release body camera footage is growing. At their meeting on May 6, the Pasquotank County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution asking the N.C. General Assembly to change the body camera law “to ensure transparency.”

At that virtual meeting, the Pasquotank Commissioners were joined by Sheriff Wooten, who also said he supported a change in the law “for the better of law enforcement, the judicial system and the community as a whole.” Governor Roy Cooper has also voiced his desire for a change in the law “so that the video is presumed to be public” rather than requiring a judge to make it public.

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  • Surf123

    Nothing is sketchier than withholding parts of the video no matter what the content. Give them all of it so as to completely transparent, so no one can speculate on what the government is hiding.

    Friday, May 7 @ 3:54 pm
  • Lemonshirt

    Transparency leads to truth.

    Saturday, May 8 @ 12:11 pm
  • Seems sketchy

    Makes me wonder how much editing has to be done, especially if they need more time???
    Baffling, because a child could probably edit this footage in a manner of hours.
    This delaying of the footage is only causing major distrust in what we may see.
    Show the family the videos. Let them come to their own conclusions.
    At this point the speculation of what transpired is causing the protesting. Either it will end if he was wrong as they claim, or we have a problem once again. It’s not going to go away!! Let’s start progressing in this case! Hiding under a rock should not be an option for an elected official. (Ever heard of zoom? The rest of America has.)

    Saturday, May 8 @ 6:45 pm
  • hightider

    The Good Ole Boy Network may find the time of running the area with their smoke and mirrors act is at an end. The eyes of the nation on focused on them and I believe the demonstrators have shown great forbearance. My friends in CA keep asking when will the burning and looting begin – and I keep telling them there is nothing to loot here besides the Dollar Store and people here are not like that. I have to laugh that our worthless sheriff is now telling his deputies to “temporarily relocate” for their own safety. If he can’t even keep his own employees safe, he needs to resign. The fact that most people believe the “editing” is an opportunity to alter the tapes is a whole nother story. I am grateful to be in the Elizabeth City Police’s jurisdiction instead of the sheriff’s. This is not gonna end anytime soon.

    Sunday, May 9 @ 9:03 pm