Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble Jr. said at a news conference Tuesday that Andrew Brown Jr. used his car as a “deadly weapon,” causing deputies to believe it was necessary to use deadly force
DA Womble announced that Brown Jr’s shooting death is ruled as justified and cops will NOT face charges
Brown Jr was shot five times outside his home on April 21 by deputies attempting to serve drug-related search and arrest warrants
Womble said a state investigation found that the deputies’ use of force against Brown was reasonable – he also played previously unseen [edited], body-camera footage of the shooting
Newly released footage shows deputies confronting Brown with their guns drawn as he sat behind the wheel of his car
Womble was immediately challenged by reporters who asserted that the heavily-edited video showed Brown was trying to drive away from the officers, not into them
Womble countered that Brown was attempting to use the car as a ‘deadly weapon,’ and acknowledging no weapon was found in the victim’s vehicle, Womble added that Brown was known to carry firearms
County Sheriff’s office Investigator Daniel Meads, Deputy Robert Morgan and Cpl. Arron Lewellyn have been identified as the officers who shot at Brown
Meads and Lewellyn are white and Morgan is black
On Tuesday Womble refused to confirm whether the three officers were still on leave after the investigations
North Carolina prosecutors will not bring any charges over the fatal police shooting of black man Andrew Brown Jr after determining that the officers’ actions were justified.
District Attorney Andrew Womble announced the decision at a news conference on Tuesday morning – almost a month after deputies attempting to serve drug-related search and arrest warrants shot and killed Brown, 42, outside his Elizabeth City home on April 21.
Womble said a probe by the State Bureau of Investigation found that the deputies’ use of force against Brown – who was accused of selling crack cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin – was reasonable.
He said Brown ignored deputies’ commands to stop and began to drive his car directly at one of the officers before he was shot.
‘Mr Brown’s death, while tragic, was justified, because Mr Brown’s actions caused three deputies with the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office to reasonably believe it was necessary to use deadly force to protect themselves and others,’ he said. Womble also played previously-unforeseen body-camera footage of the deputies confronting Brown with their guns drawn as he sat behind the wheel of his BMW sedan.
After delivering his statement the DA came under fire from reporters who asserted that the heavily-edited video showed Brown was trying to drive away from the officers, not into them.
Womble countered that Brown was attempting to use the car as a ‘deadly weapon’. He noted that no weapon was found in Brown’s vehicle but said the suspect was known to carry firearms.
The DA on Tuesday released body-camera video of the deputies confronting Brown before he was shot five times. The video shows deputies confronting Brown with guns drawn as he sat behind the wheel of his BMW sedan in his driveway Bodycam shows the fatal police-involved shooting of Andrew Brown
Womble said on the day of the shooting deputies interacted with Brown for a total of 44 seconds and showed four different videos from that time frame on a projector in the briefing room.
He first showed frame-by-frame stills of the clips before playing them in full. He said the compilation he was releasing is shorter than that which was previously shown to the family.
The first clip showed the deputies jumping out of their truck and running toward Brown’s vehicle with their guns pointed at him. Brown is then seen reversing his vehicle away from deputies.
Womble said he was unable to escape backward because his house was behind him, so instead he drove forward toward the deputies surrounding his car.
One deputy is seen jumping to the side to avoid making contact with the car.
Womble said the footage showed that the first shot fired at Brown’s car went through the front windshield, not the back as was previously reported.
The footage then showed several more shots being fired as he drove off. DA Andrew Womble announces there will be no charges against the three policemen who shot Brown Jr. because his actions seemed threatening
The car ultimately crashed into a tree a few yards away before deputies ran over to pull him out. Womble said he purposely did not release that portion of the video because it did not have ‘value’ for the media.
He said the investigation did not prove how fast Brown was driving.
Womble said Brown was known to officers as having a long history of arrests and convictions dating back to 1995, including assault with a deadly weapon.
‘I find that the facts of this case clearly illustrate that the officers who used deadly force on Andrew Brown Jr. did so reasonably and only when a violent felon used a deadly weapon to place their lives in danger,’ Womble said.
He explained that the law allows law enforcement to use force when faced with apparent danger, not actual danger, but said he believes the deputies involved in Brown’s death faced both.
‘Brown’s actions and conduct were indeed dangerous by the time of the shooting. … Brown posed an immediate threat to the safety of the officers and others,’ he said.
‘The constitution does not require police to gamble with their lives in the face of a serious threat of harm.’
Womble said deputies interacted with Brown for a total of 44 seconds and played four different videos from that time frame.
The video showed an officer jumping to the side to avoid being hit by Brown’s car. The car ultimately crashed into a tree a few yards away before deputies ran over to pull Brown out.
An independent autopsy released by the family found that Brown was hit by five bullets, including one to the back of his head.
Lawyers for Brown’s family who watched body camera footage before it was released publicly said it showed Brown was not armed and that he didn’t drive toward deputies or pose a threat to them.
‘We were able to see Mr. Brown sitting in his vehicle – that he was ambushed as the sheriff’s office made their way to his residence,’ Brown’s family said.
‘Appearing to be surprised. At all times his hands were visible. At all times he did not appear to be a threat.’
Womble has previously disagreed in court, saying that Brown struck deputies twice with his car before any shots were fired.
The Pasquotank County Sheriff, Tommy Wooten, has said his deputies weren’t injured. On Tuesday, DA Womble discounted the reports filed by law enforcement officers on the scene, announcing that he wasn’t sure if that [no injury report], was true. The deputy who leapt out of the path of Brown’s vehicle appeared to yelp in what may have been pain from his foot getting run over, Wooten said.
The shooting sparked protests over multiple weeks by demonstrators calling for the public release of body camera footage.
A judge had refused to release the video publicly pending the state investigation.
The FBI has launched a civil rights probe into the shooting, while state agents are conducting a separate investigation.
Ten Deputies from the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office were present at the shooting on April 21.
County Sheriff’s office Investigator Daniel Meads, Deputy Robert Morgan and Cpl. Arron Lewellyn have been identified as the officers who shot at Brown. Their identities were finally released in late April and they remain on administrative leave.
Four other officers who were at the scene were reinstated after the sheriff said they didn’t fire their weapons.
On Tuesday Womble refused to confirm whether the three officers were still on leave after the investigation. Both Meads and Lewellyn are white and Morgan is black, the sheriff’s office said.
Sheriff Wooten announced that four other deputies, Lt. Steven Judd, Sergeants Michael Swindell, Kenneth Bishop and Joel Lunsford, were cleared to return to active duty after the investigation revealed they did not fire their guns.
All seven had initially been placed on administrative leave after Brown’s death.
Two of the officers, Deputy Sheriff William Harris and Lt. Christopher Terry, resigned in the aftermath, while Deputy James Flowers retired.