The family of a Black man killed by sheriff’s deputies in Elizabeth City, N.C., last week will be shown video from the deputies’ body cameras on Monday before it is released to the public in response to mounting pressure from protesters and public officials.
The family will hold a news conference after viewing of the video, which was expected to take place at 11:30 a.m. The footage could answer some of the questions the family has about the moments before Andrew Brown Jr. was killed last Wednesday while the authorities were executing a search warrant.
The decision to show family members the video came amid growing appeals to release footage of the fatal shooting, including calls from the county sheriff and the state’s governor.
“We want transparency,” Tommy Wooten II, the Pasquotank County sheriff, said in a videotaped statement on Saturday. He emphasized that his office did not have the power to release the footage, a decision that could only be made by a judge.
The footage was turned over to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Sheriff Wooten said, and he asked that agency to confirm that releasing the video would not undermine its investigation. If that confirmation is received, the county planned to file a motion in court — most likely on Monday — to have the footage publicly released, he said.
“We know people want answers,” Sheriff Wooten said. “We know you’re angry. We understand and respect that. We ask for your patience and your support as we work to do the right thing.”
His office has also asked the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association to appoint an outside sheriff’s department to conduct an internal affairs investigation of everyone involved, said Daniel Fogg, the chief deputy for Pasquotank County.
Harry Daniels, a lawyer for Mr. Brown’s family, said that based on witnesses’ statements, it appeared that Mr. Brown had been shot while driving away from sheriff’s deputies. “To my understanding, Mr. Brown was not armed, and the bullets entered into the back of the vehicle,” Mr. Daniels said on Thursday.
The Sheriff’s Office statement on Saturday followed a day of emotional appeals from family members, activists and lawyers pushing for accountability in Mr. Brown’s death.
“If the shooting and the killing was self-defense or proper use of force, then show the truth,” the Rev. William J. Barber II said at a news briefing on Saturday. “If it wasn’t — show the truth. But Sheriff, D.A., law enforcement, you can’t just shut up. You must speak up.”
On Friday, Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, said the body-camera footage should be released.
Mr. Brown’s family is in part represented by Ben Crump, the well-known civil rights lawyer who was among those representing the family of George Floyd after his death in police custody in Minneapolis.
The shooting in North Carolina took place one day after a jury found a former police officer guilty of murder in Mr. Floyd’s death, and as police violence against Black people has come under intense scrutiny across the country.
A spokesman for the sheriff’s office said that seven of the department’s 55 full-time deputies had been placed on paid administrative leave after Mr. Brown’s death.
Mr. Brown’s family was told that no drugs or weapons had been retrieved from the property or the car, Mr. Daniels, their lawyer, said on Saturday. The legal team has not yet seen the search warrant that officials say was being executed at the time of the shooting.
“This is a moment in time that we have to seize and take back accountability and transparency,” Mr. Daniels said. Mr. Brown, he said, was “taken by the hands of the ones who are sworn to protect and serve.”