The daily protests against the murder of Andrew Brown Jr. in Elizabeth City on April 21 continued on Saturday, with small, peaceful marches in Elizabeth City and Durham.
About 75 people gathered in downtown Durham for an “Elizabeth City Solidarity Rally” to continue the call for the release of the body camera video taken by Pasquotank County MPs who have shot and killed Brown.
A county judge agreed to let Brown family members review the video in about a week, but said nothing would be made public for at least 30 days, as the State Bureau of Investigation continues its investigation. investigation into the shooting.
The Durham crowd dispersed after marching through the streets of the city center without incident for around 90 minutes.
Earlier, a group of more than 70 protesters marched through Elizabeth City, marking the 11th consecutive day of protests following the death of Brown, a black man who was shot and killed by Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Deputies on April 21.
Brown, 42, was killed in his car by lawmakers serving warrants related to federal drug charges.
On Saturday, the demonstrators marched for more than five kilometers while receiving a police escort, sometimes interrupting traffic and chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “Say his name”.
Protesters urged officials to post body camera footage of Brown’s murder, repeatedly chanting, “Free the gang, the whole gang” and “20 seconds is not enough.”
Earlier in the week, a Pasquotank County judge rejected multiple requests to release images of Brown’s death, saying the family could see the images in about a week, but they would not be made public for at least a month.
David Lee, 50, born in Elizabeth City and living in the nearby town of Currituck, prayed for the protesters before and after the march. In an interview, he said justice cannot begin until the public sees the body camera footage.
“To get justice, we have to see the tapes,” Lee said. “The need to just reveal the pictures.”
Whitley Johnson, 31, took her two daughters and three nephews for the walk, sometimes carrying one of the girls on her shoulders and each wearing Black Lives Matter shirts or carrying signs.
“I wanted to support the community,” Johnson said of the walk on Saturday. “I wanted (the children) to experience reality early on and support their people and the community. We want to show them now, when they are children, what to expect and know what is going on around them so that they are not caught off guard.
Some of Brown’s family and their lawyers saw 20 seconds of video of the shoot. They said it shows he was unarmed, hands on the wheel, and no threat to MPs. They released the autopsy results showing Brown died from a gunshot wound to the back of his head and called his death execution.
Family members, protesters, Democratic officials and media organizations have demanded the release of all police videos recorded during the attempted arrest. Pasquotank Sheriff Tommy Wooten and the county prosecutor are also supporting the video’s release.
Wooten told NPR in an interview broadcast Friday that the State Investigation Bureau, which is investigating the shooting, is also supporting the video’s release.
“I spoke with the National Bureau of Investigation, which is currently conducting the criminal investigation,” Wooten said. “They told me they were fine with the video released.”
State Superior Court Judge Jeffery B. Foster on Wednesday denied his release outside an immediate family, saying the media and the public did not have standing to request access to the video. A 2016 state law gives judges the power to whether or not to publish body and dashcam video.
Wooten told NPR the shooting was not an execution. In court on Wednesday, Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble challenged the family’s characterization of what had happened. Womble, who objected to the video’s publication, said Brown’s vehicle made two contact with MPs as they sought to stop it.
The shooting took place less than 24 hours after Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was convicted of murdering George Floyd, an unarmed black man. Protests erupted across the country after Floyd’s death last summer.