New video shows officers “ambushed” Andrew Brown Jr.

Attorneys for the family of Andrew Brown Jr. said Tuesday additional footage from the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office showed Brown was “ambushed” by deputies. They described the encounter as a “massacre” and said the video is evidence that merits criminal charges against the deputies.

Officials showed the family and their attorneys six videos that totaled about 20 minutes, including dashboard footage and video from deputies’ body cameras. At a news conference, Brown’s family said it was clear he had never posed a threat to the officers that killed him.

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)

“My father did not deserve to die at all,” his son Jha’rod Ferebee told reporters after watching the footage. “He did not deserve to get killed in any way, shape or form. He did not pose any threat at all.”

“You should be outraged that in 2021—2021—that a man be killed, gunned down by a firing squad,” said Brown family attorney Harry Daniels. “I’ll be damned just because they wear a shield, a badge, that the killers should still walk free.”

Brown, a 42-year-old black man, was fatally shot April 21 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, when Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies sought to serve Brown an arrest warrant related to felony drug charges. Attorneys said Brown was in his own driveway, using a cellphone in his parked car, when officers dismounted from the back of a pickup truck and circled him.

District Attorney Andrew Womble initially claimed officers fired at Brown’s vehicle because he attempted to hit officers with his vehicle, and that officers attempted to provide Brown medical care after the shooting. Womble said the car “made contact” with officers at least two times before shots were fired.

However, Brown family attorney Chance Lynch said the video showed that deputies first opened fire on Brown, prompting him to attempt to drive away. Lynch said Brown’s car was riddled with bullet holes after the shooting. Deputies found no weapons on Brown after the shooting.

“We counted approximately six, if not more, bullet holes in the side of his car … and we were able to see a number of shots, approximately six, at least, in the back windshield. At no point—let me be very clear—at no point did we see Mr. Brown pose a threat to the law enforcement officers that were there,” Lynch said.

“You could see that he was not a threat. There was a shot fired. When the shot was fired, he put the car in reverse, putting several feet, if not yards, away from the police who were there. He turned his wheel to the left, to turn it away from the law enforcement officers,” he said. “At no point did we ever see any police officers behind his vehicle. At no point did we ever see Mr. Brown make contact with law enforcement.”

Brown was then seen accelerating across his yard when deputies began shooting at him again. At some point, a bullet struck Brown in the back of his head and his vehicle went down a ditch and crashed into a tree. Officers then pulled Brown from the car and laid him face-first on the ground.

“It was absolutely, unequivocally unjustified,” Lynch said of the killing. “Our legal team is more committed now to pursue justice … because what we saw today was unconstitutional and it was unjustifiable.”

Two family members were initially shown a 20-second clip from a deputy’s body camera on April 26, which they described as an “execution.” Brown’s family has said that even in the 20-second video, it was clear that he was not a threat to law enforcement. Khalil Ferebee, Brown’s son and one of the family members that saw the first clip, said the new footage only confirmed what he already knew: officers murdered his father.

“The video I seen last week is pretty much the same as what I seen today just a few more details,” Ferebee said Tuesday. “He wasn’t in the wrong at all, what’s in the dark will come to the light.”

Brown’s shooting sparked large protests in Elizabeth City, a small majority-African American town. Residents have demanded the full release of the video and for officers involved to be held accountable. City officials responded to protests by banning public assembly without a permit.

Sheriff Tommy Wooten identified 10 deputies who converged on Brown’s home to arrest him. Three who fired shots will remain on administrative leave as the matter is investigated, he said.

Another of the family’s attorneys, Bakari Sellers, called for District Attorney Womble to recuse himself from any investigation because of the “incestuous relationship between the district attorney and law enforcement.”

“We are going to raise a lot of hell and a lot of noise about the fact that Womble wants to stay on this case,” Sellers said. “And if he chooses to stay on this case, we’re going to ask him to make sure that he follows through with prosecuting the officers that murdered Andrew Brown.”