Attorneys ask DA to recuse himself from Andrew Brown Jr. case
"There is no doubt all seven officers involved, including the three shooters, have worked directly with you and your office for years"
Attorneys for the family of Andrew Brown, Jr., the victim of a fatal police shooting in Elizabeth City, N.C., are asking a district attorney to recuse himself from the case, reported The Hill.
The letter, penned by family attorney Bakari Sellers, asked District Attorney Andrew Womble to “immediately recuse” himself from the case, for his “well-defined” relationship with the sheriff’s office, according to CNN.
Officers fatally shot Brown on April 21 after reportedly attempting to serve an arrest warrant. Seven deputies have been placed on administrative leave following the shooting, two others have resigned and one deputy retired, according to Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten II, per CNN.
Womble’s account of the incident reportedly insists Brown’s vehicle made contact with law enforcement officers before the deputies discharged their weapons, a detail of which the family’s attorneys are skeptical.
“There is no doubt all seven officers involved, including the three shooters, have worked directly with you and your office for years in prosecuting various cases,” the family’s attorneys wrote in a letter to Womble on Wednesday.
“You and your office not only work with Sheriff Wooten and his deputies daily, your office physically resides in the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s department,” read the letter. “The conflict is well-defined.”
The attorneys’ request for recusal comes just a few days before members of Brown’s immediate family will be allowed to view body camera footage of the moments preceding and following his death per a written ruling issued by a superior court judge, according to The Hill.
“We’ve carefully read the order from the judge, and we will certainly comply with it,” Wooten said in a statement reported by CNN. “Because we’re continuing to be as transparent as we can under state law, we will be allowing the family members identified in the judge’s order to view the specified videos much sooner than the judge’s deadline requires.”
Judge Jeff Foster granted partial access to the videos, making them available to Brown’s family and only one the their attorneys under the condition that they not copy or record the footage, as data captured by body cameras is not subject to public record and cannot be released without a court order in the state of North Carolina, according to CNN.
Foster ordered the sheriff’s office to blur the deputies’ facial features “to prevent identification pending the completion of any internal or criminal investigation into the actions of the deputies,” to which the sheriff’s office said in an email obtained by CNN, “We’ve been working on making redactions since the hearing and are reviewing the order to comply with the specifics the judge included.”
“We don’t anticipate seeing anything we don’t already know. We think it will show an unjustified shooting,” a source close to the Brown family said, according to CNN. “Regardless of when we see [the videos] we will notice everyone when viewed and schedule a presser.”
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