In a funeral that served as both a celebration of life and a condemnation of racist police in America, the family of Andrew Brown Jr. was joined on Monday in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, by relatives other black men killed by police.
Speaking to Mr. Brown’s sons, Eric Garner’s grandmother offered him her love and friendship. George Floyd’s sister said she shared their pain. Daunte Wright’s sister said she was outraged.
Mr Brown, 42, was killed by Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Deputies on April 21 as they attempted to arrest him in a drug raid. But many details of the shooting remain unclear, and last week a North Carolina judge refused to publicly release the body camera images for at least 30 days.
Other guests at the funeral, including the Rev. Al Sharpton and Ben Crump, a family lawyer, compared Mr. Brown’s murder to the deaths of several other blacks at the hands of police, from Mr. Floyd to Breonna. Taylor.
“Here we are again,” said Bakari Sellers, lawyer and former South Carolina State Representative. “For a lot of people it’s just another black body, but for us it’s a brother, a father, a nephew, a loved one.”
The funeral was largely a call to action, although some of Mr Brown’s family took the opportunity to remember him as a loving father or cousin to be admired.
Jha’rod Ferebee, one of his sons, said that his father was his “best friend” and that “every time you saw me, you saw him”. Khalil Ferebee, another son, said the circumstances of the rally were grim, but Mr Brown would have loved to see some of his favorite people come together.
“He would have loved it,” said Khalil Ferebee. “I just wish he was here with us. As much as I’m wishing and wishing and wishing all day, it won’t happen.
Mr. Brown was killed a day after a Minneapolis jury convicted former police officer Derek Chauvin of murdering Mr. Floyd. At Mr Brown’s funeral, his death was put next to a list of names dating as far back as Emmett Till, a 14-year-old who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955.
“We thought George Floyd said we were going to put an end to these unnecessary and unjustifiable murders of black men,” said Mr. Crump, who also represents Mr. Floyd’s family.
Mr Crump continued to demand the full release of body camera footage – the family was shown a 20-second clip – which may shed light on Mr Brown’s death. He was shot and killed five times in the head, according to a private autopsy.
City-owned video obtained by WAVY, a Virginia-based TV station, showed deputies from the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office wearing tactical gear before pulling into Mr. Brown’s driveway. . Seven MPs were initially placed on administrative leave.
At Monday’s funeral, the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, the former president of the The North Carolina NAACP told Mr. Brown’s family to take solace in the level of attention and support from across the country. Protesters have gathered in Elizabeth City regularly since her death.
“Andrew has siblings, white, black, brown, Asian, gay, straight – all coming together,” Dr Barber said. “I want you to be comforted on this.”
Mr Sharpton said the failure to release the body camera images was a “shell game” and called on the Justice Department to investigate the shooting and the perceived lack of transparency in the case.
“The challenge in this day and age is how we’re going to handle policing in America,” he said, adding, “I know a con game when I see it; release the whole gang and let people see what happened to Andrew Brown. “