Deputies knew Andrew Brown Jr. was unarmed before fatal shooting, new complaint says
The family of Brown updated their lawsuit, noting that they believe the district attorney is intentionally trying to protect the deputies involved.
The family of Andrew Brown Jr. has amended their $30 million lawsuit against the officers who shot and killed him this spring when trying to serve a drug-related search and arrest warrant in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
Pasquotank County deputies reportedly fired into Brown’s car on April 21 as he attempted to drive away from them and evade the warrant. An independent autopsy determined the 42-year-old father of seven was shot five times, including the fatal shot to the back of his head.
Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble was asked by Bakari Sellers, a lawyer representing the Brown family, to recuse himself due to a “well-defined” relationship with the sheriff’s office. Womble did not do so and ultimately deemed the shooting justified. He has claimed that Brown’s vehicle made contact with at least one of the deputies’ vehicles, a point which the family and their attorneys find skeptical.
Thus, the family has updated their lawsuit, noting that they believe the district attorney is intentionally trying to protect the deputies involved.
In an exclusive interview with ABC11, a local news outlet, Brown’s aunt, Lillie Brown Clark said, “The evidence speaks for itself. They murdered Andrew. They murdered him.”
Brown Clark and her family’s attorneys are citing a new report released by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation which, according to ABC 11, notes that two high-ranking officers at the scene did not fire their weapons and neither thought Brown was armed.
One of those officers also noted that he did not feel threatened in the interaction.
“The Andrew that family knows, the infectious smile. The Andrew with the wonderful laugh, jokester, the gentle Andrew, he would not harm anyone. That’s why he didn’t carry a weapon. He didn’t believe in weapons,” said Brown Clark.
“It was a lynching,” she added. “A new-age lynching.”
Womble has maintained that deadly force was necessary for the officers to protect themselves. On May 18, he said at a press conference, “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.”
Despite the new information in the report, Womble has maintained his position, one that is upsetting to Brown’s family.
“That is absolutely disgraceful. It is disrespectful to the family, to the citizens of Elizabeth City,” said Brown Clark. “Were I not so angry, I would be very emotional.”
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