Apr 28, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Judge rules body camera footage of Andrew Brown Jr. police killing will not be released to public

Photo of a protester wearing a shirt that says "Who's next" as they face off against police in riot gear
Police in riot gear force people off a street as they protest the killing of Andrew Brown Jr. in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Photo: Joe Raedle via Getty Images

A judge ruled Wednesday the body camera footage that shows North Carolina police shooting and killing Andrew Brown Jr. will not be released to the public for at least 30 to 45 days, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: There have been days of protests over the lack of transparency in the case. Brown's family attorneys said police shared 20 seconds of footage that showed Brown driving away with his hands on the wheel when the sheriff's deputies opened fire.

Details: Brown's family will be allowed to view additional footage but the public will not see the video to allow the State Bureau of Investigation to complete its probe, Judge Jeffery Foster ruled.

  • The judge granted Brown's son, his immediately family and one attorney access to more footage, but said the deputies' faces and identification badges should be blurred and portions of the footage could still be redacted.
  • Foster said he made his decision out of concern that release of the footage could interfere with the ongoing investigation and threaten the safety of the people in the video.

The Pasquotank County Attorney, on behalf of the sheriff's office and a coalition of 20 media organizations including Gannett and the Post, argued that the video should be released in public interest.

  • Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten, who has faced criticism for lack of transparency, said he would have released the video days ago if state law did not require a court order to make the footage public.

The big picture: Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble claimed on Wednesday that the footage allegedly shows police holding fire until Brown's car struck officers, the Post reports.

  • An independent autopsy ordered by Brown's family showed he was shot five times, including in the back of his head.
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