A North Carolina judge struck down a petition from a coalition of media outlets to release the police-worn body camera footage that shows last week’s fatal police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr.
Brown, 42, was killed April 21 in Pasquotank County, North Carolina when deputies with the county sheriff's department attempted to serve a warrant on felony drug charges.
The body camera footage of the shooting has not yet been made public. In North Carolina, body-worn police footage can only be released to the public with a court order.
County officials did show family members and their attorneys about 20 seconds of the footage on Monday afternoon. Brown’s son, Khalil Ferebee, said the footage proves that his father was “executed.”
Elon University School of Law professor Steve Friedland believes there may be efforts to change to the state law concerning body camera footage.
“I think there likely will be efforts to modify this law, to make it easier for the public to see videos for people who are also family members to see more of the videos and perhaps with fewer issues in the system before they get a chance to view it,” Friedland said.
According to an autopsy commissioned by lawyers for Brown’s family, he was shot by deputies five times — four times in his arm, and once in the back of the head.
"You all know from the death certificate that it was a 'penetrating gunshot wound to the head.' But what they did not know was that it was a kill shot to the back of the head," attorney Ben Crump said during a press conference on Tuesday.
Brown family lawyers say that deputies shot at Brown as he sat in his vehicle with his hands on the steering wheel. They also say he attempted back his vehicle up after shots were fired — not to target officers, but to avoid gunfire.
Seven members of the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Department are on administrative leave following the shooting and two others have either resigned or retired.
On Tuesday, the FBI announced it had opened a Civil Rights investigation into Brown’s death.
In a statement released on Tuesday, an FBI spokesperson said agents will work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the state and the Department of Justice to determine whether federal laws were violated in the officer-involved shooting.
Peaceful marches have taken place in Elizabeth City each day since Brown’s death. On Tuesday evening, police began dispersing crowds quickly after the city’s 8 p.m. curfew.
Some of the protesters on Tuesday took issue with the curfew, noting that the demonstrations have remained peaceful throughout the week.
“We have a problem with that curfew because we’ve shown great restraint,” said Ariana, a protester who lives in Elizabeth City. “…we haven’t done anything wrong.”
This story was originally published by Zak Dahlheimer on Scripps station WTKR in Norfolk, Virginia.