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"Let the family see the tapes": Family, community leaders call for transparency after fatal police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr.

Andrew Brown Jr.'s family speaks to press
Andrew Brown Jr.'s family speaks to press 41:17

Clergy, community leaders and the family of Andrew Brown Jr. are demanding the release of body camera footage from North Carolina law enforcement officers involved in his fatal shooting. Authorities said that Brown, 42, was shot and killed while Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office deputies were serving a search warrant.

"At least let the family see the tapes," said Dr. William J. Barber II, a community activist and pastor at Greenleaf Christian Church, at a Saturday press conference. "This is what justice and truth demands."

An eyewitness at Wednesday's shooting said that deputies fired shots at Brown multiple times as he attempted to drive away from the scene. The car skidded out of Brown's yard and eventually hit a tree, said Demetria Williams, who lives on the same street. 

Seven North Carolina Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office deputies were placed on leave after the shooting, authorities said Friday. Keith Rivers, the president of the county's chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, called Saturday for the resignation of County Sheriff Tommy Wooten, citing the fact that body camera footage had not been released. 

"You have the opportunity right now to get it together," Rivers said at a press conference. "You have an obligation to this family."

In a video released Saturday around the same time as the family's press conference, Wooten said that his office did not have the power to release the footage themselves. 

"Because we want transparency, we want the body camera footage made public," Wooten said. "Some people have falsely claimed that my office has the power to do so. That is not true. Only a judge can release the video." 

Wooten said he has asked the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation to confirm that releasing the video will not undermine their investigation. Once that is confirmed, Wooten said, the county will file a motion in court, "hopefully Monday," he said, to have the footage released.

"We know people want answers. We know you're angry," Wooten said. "We understand and respect that, but we're following a process that protects the investigation to ensure fairness for all."

Brown's aunt, Glenda Thomas, said Saturday that her nephew was a good father to his seven children who did "anything and everything" that they asked of him.

"He did not deserve what was done to him." Thomas said. "His children are going to miss him. We all are going to miss Andrew."

Meanwhile, Elizabeth City officials prepared Saturday for protests in the city to continue, and authorities said that so far, the city had not made any arrests as a result of demonstrations.

"To those that have been participating in the ongoing protests, the city would like to thank you for your peaceful and orderly conduct," said Elizabeth City Mayor Bettie Parker.

Parker, along with Brown's family and one of their attorneys, Harry Daniels, called for changes to North Carolina law that limits the public release of recordings made by law enforcement. Parker said Saturday she wants "as quickly as possible" to change the law surrounding disclosures of body camera footage to make the footage easier to access.

Daniels said, "We're demanding that law to be changed and to be changed in his name: the Andrew Act."

The State Bureau of Investigation will turn the findings of its review over to District Attorney Andrew Womble, who pledged a thorough and deliberate inquiry.

"What we are looking for at this time will be accurate answers and not fast answers," Womble said during a news conference Wednesday. "We're going to wait for the full and complete investigation ... and we'll review that and make any determinations that we deem appropriate at that time. This will not be a rush to judgment."

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