Protesters have gathered tonight in North Carolina after a district attorney decided not to bring charges against deputies in the shooting death of a black man last month. The D.A. explained his decision, saying Andrew Brown Jr., quote, ignored commands, and, quote, drove directly at a police deputy. Attorneys for the family disagree, saying that portions of body cam footage released today do not indicate that Brown was using his car as a weapon. So far, all the video has not been released.
Today, the family petitioned the court for the full release. The sheriff has also asked the court to release the video. He says the D.A. concluded that no criminal law was violated by the deputies. However, quote, This was a terrible and tragic outcome and we could do better now because there is such an intense mix of opinions about what the tape shows. We want to show it to you now. And we want to warn you, this tape shows the end of a man’s life and is disturbing.
I’m joined now by one of the attorneys for interbranch in your family, Benjamin Crump. Mr. Crump, I appreciate you joining us. I want to play the video again as we talk to you. What is your reaction? Is it the first time I’m seeing it? What is your reaction to what it shows and to the district attorney calling the shooting justified?
Well, it’s outrageous, Anderson, that this district attorney will attempt to whitewash this unjustified killing of a black man moving away from him where they will shoot him in the back of his brain when he posed no threat of violence or harm to them, clearly based on they are out of any harm’s way as he’s moving away from them. And this follows a pattern, Anderson, where a black man in America who is unarmed is repeatedly shot in the back by police all over America.
I mean, there’s no suggestion that Mr. Brown was armed. And I guess the district attorney had said that by driving his vehicle in the direction of where an officer was, he was a danger to that officer. You reject that categorically?
We reject it categorically. And we would ask that they release all the videos and the family would demand that they release the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations report because transparency is the primary objective here. If you are confident that this was justified, then why do you continue to refuse to release the video? The fact that you violated your own policies of shooting into a moving car is enough for those officers to have been charged with negligent homicide. But when you tell us it’s justified and we see on the video that none of these officers were in harm’s way and we see this man shot to the back of his head, it tells us simply that this was a whitewash and that the local district attorney who is housed in the same building with the local sheriff’s department seems to have made their mind up from the beginning that they were not going to charge these officers for killing this unarmed black man in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
The district attorney said he did not give the Brown family a heads up before his announcement today because of what he called dysfunction in the relationship between the family and the prosecutor’s office. He also accused the family’s legal team of misrepresenting the facts. What do you say to that?
I say the video is so clear that it doesn’t need to be interpreted. Mr. de Wamba, why don’t you released a video? We don’t need you to interpret it for us. We can see with our own eyes what happened. But the reason they want to interpret it is that he wants to try to whitewash it and to say he wants to try to justify the unjustifiable killing of this unarmed black man. And that’s why we’re calling for the federal Department of Justice to intervene immediately because his press conference did nothing to calm this situation. And we refuse to let it be swept under the rug.