Andrew Brown Jr.: Social Justice, Faith Leaders Demand Federal Investigations into Killing

federal investigations into the killing of Andrew Brown Jr. by county deputies.
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Social justice and faith leaders in North Carolina will send a letter to the U.S. Justice Department with demands for federal investigations into the killing of Andrew Brown Jr. by county deputies.

At a news conference Friday, the president of Repairers of the Breach and NAACP leaders said the letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland demands:

  • An expedited federal civil rights investigation that’s fully independent.
  • A “pattern-or-practice” civil rights investigation into the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office.
  • A “pattern-or-practice” civil rights investigation into the District Attorney’s Office in the First Judicial District of North Carolina, which encompasses all of Dare, Gates, Pasquotank, Camden, Currituck, Perquimans and Chowan counties.

“Why did this have to happen to this young man? Why couldn’t they let him go and arrest him alive? Why? That is the question. That is the question,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach. “What did he know? And what did some people not want the rest of us to know? And the judicial system beyond this county to know? Until there is truth and accountability and full transparency, we will continue.”

The 42-year-old Brown, the father of seven, was shot and killed April 21 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, by Pasquotank County deputies who were serving search and arrest warrants for nonviolent drug crimes.

He was shot in the back of his head as he drove away from deputies wearing tactical gear.

Earlier this week District Attorney Andrew Womble gave a national press conference to announce and justify his decision to pursue no criminal charges against any officer involved in Mr. Brown’s death. Under questioning from the media, he publicly defended the actions of the deputies as justified, disparaged Mr. Brown’s family’s attorneys, emphasized Mr. Brown’s past criminal history, and displayed select portions of the body camera footage of Mr. Brown.

“For far too long and on far too many occasions, we have stood by and watched the obstruction of justice unfold before our very eyes while the justice that was sought for the dead gets buried in the graves of those who have been killed by law enforcement or confined in the cages of those convicted or conspired against of crimes that they never committed,” said Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the North Carolina conference of the NAACP. “ How long will it take before those who are called to uphold justice finally uphold justice?”

Keith Rivers, president of the Pasquotank County NAACP, said residents aren’t satisfied with how the warrants were served or how the investigation is being handled.

“We will not be satisfied until we get justice for Andrew Brown and so many others,” he said.

Community members are being invited to sign the letter to the DOJ, which will be delivered to Garland in Washington, D.C., during the first week of June.

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