Pasquotank Sheriff to seek release of bodycam footage, investigation by NC Sheriffs' Association

Sunday, April 25, 2021
NC Sheriff to seek release of bodycam footage of deadly shooting
Pasquotank Co. Sheriff's Office released a joint statement promising to seek the release of the bodycam footage hopefully by Monday.

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Powerful demands were made during a Saturday afternoon news conference from notable North Carolina civil rights leaders that stood flanked with the family of Andrew Brown Jr.. a Black man who was and killed by deputies in Elizabeth City.

The Brown family joined by legal representatives, Rev. William Barber, president of the NC NAACP leader Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the Pasquotank County NAACP branch Keith Rivers.

"A warrant isn't a license to kill even if a suspect drives away. A warrant doesn't mean someone's guilty... it's not an authorization to shoot and kill," Rev. Barber said.

First and foremost, the family and leaders demanded the release of bodycam footage of the encounter between Andrew Brown Jr. and Pasquotank County deputies, along with the resignation of Sheriff Tommy Wooten II and are continuing calls for accountability for transparency within the justice system.

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"A warrant isn't a license to kill even if a suspect drives away. A warrant doesn't mean someone's guilty... it's not an authorization to shoot and kill."

"On behalf of the Pasquotank County branch, we today are calling for [Tommy Wooten] resignation," Rivers said. His demand applauded by the crowd. "Sheriff Wooten, you've had the opportunity. The district attorney, you have the opportunity to get it together. We owe this. You owe this. You are elected officials."

During the conference, Daniels noted how there was "very limited communication" from the district attorney and Pasquotank Sheriff's Office.

The Brown family is legally represented by the prevalent civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump as well as Harry Daniels and Bakari Sellers. While Crump may not have been present at the conference, fellow attorney Daniels assured the audience that he will be joining the fight.

Other than the witnesses who saw the shooting for themselves, no one, not even the family, has seen the bodycam footage.

"This family has not been afforded the opportunity to see what happened. They can only speculate what others are saying. Rumors. That is not how it should be done in the United States of America," Daniels said.

Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner. another Black man killed at the hands of law enforcement back in 2014, was among those in the crowd.

Barely an hour after the press conference, Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office released a joint statement from Sheriff Tommy Wooten, II and Chef Deputy Daniel Fogg promising the release of the bodycam footage hopefully by Monday -- should the legal system move accordingly.

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Gov. Roy Cooper is among North Carolina leaders and activists calling for transparency from law enforcement after a Black man was shot dead by deputies while serving a search warrant.

"Some people have falsely claimed that my office has the power to [release footage], that is not true, only a judge can release the video," Wooten said. "Our county will file a motion in court Monday to have footage released."

Fogg also announced that he will be in contact with the North Carolina Sheriff's Association to help in conducting an outside internal investigation

Attorney General Josh Stein chimed in after the announcement via public statement saying he reached out to District Attorney Andrew Wombel to offer assistance in an effort to release the bodycam video "without undue delay."

"People in Elizabeth City and across North Carolina are hurting, and they are understandably engaging in protests in response to this tragic loss of life. I urge them to do so peacefully and lawfully," wrote in a Saturday statement.

Today's events come a day after a chock full of headlines coming out of eastern North Carolina including seven Pasquotank officers being put on administrative leave, the resignation of three officers -- allegedly unrelated to the shooting incident -- and statewide protests.

Large group marches in downtown Raleigh following recent police killings (1 of 4)