A North Carolina sheriff’s office on Monday announced a $3 million settlement in a lawsuit brought by the family of an unarmed black man who was fatally shot in his car by sheriff’s deputies More than a year ago.
Andrew Brown Jr.’s family filed a $30 million civil rights lawsuit in 2021, claiming the man died because officers showed ‘intentional and reckless disregard for his life “.
Brown was killed on April 21 last year by Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Deputies while serving drug warrants at his Elizabeth City home. Several deputies surrounded Brown in his BMW before his car backed up and moved forward. They fired several shots at and into his vehicle. He was killed by a bullet in the neck.
District Attorney Andrew Womble said at a press conference last year that Brown had used his car as a ‘deadly weapon’, leading deputies to believe it was necessary to use force murderous. But lawyers for the Brown family said the shooting was unjustified because Brown was trying to get away – not to deputies and he posed no threat. After reviewing body camera footage of the shooting, they said Brown was sitting in his stationary car with his hands on the wheel when the first of many shots were fired.
The settlement was approved by the Pasquotank County Board of Commissioners. It includes a special $1 million credit to accompany $2 million of the county’s insurance policy, which was provided by the North Carolina Counties Liabilities Pool, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office provided to The Associated Press. . This amount is at the limit of the policy.
The settlement was reached over several weeks last month in the case overseen by a federal magistrate in the U.S. District Court in Raleigh, according to the news release.
The county’s payment resolves potential liability against the defendants and any individual officers who have been named or could be named as defendants in the lawsuit, the news release said. The family also entered into a stipulation in which they dismiss all claims against the defendants, namely Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten II and three sheriff’s deputies, as well as other potential claims arising from Brown’s death, according to the press release.
Brown’s children will share in the proceeds of the settlement as heirs to his estate, the sheriff’s office said.
“Andrew Brown Jr. was a devoted father who wanted his children to have what he didn’t have,” said a statement from the five attorneys representing his family. “While no settlement can ever fill the void his death left in their hearts, this agreement is about securing the future of these children, ensuring their education and ensuring that their dreams do not die with their lives. dad.”
At the time, the lawsuit filed by the Brown family was the latest in a series of federal civil rights lawsuits stemming from high-profile police shootings against black and brown people. Many resulted in settlements that often included money but did not specify any admission of guilt. Some of the lawsuits end up in court where a jury can award massive settlements that are reduced on appeal.
An independent autopsy commissioned by the family revealed that Brown had been shot five times, including one in the back of the head. Family members who were privately shown part of the body camera video later said Brown was trying to flee when he was shot. The shooting sparked days of protests in the town in rural northeast North Carolina.