(ELIZABETH CITY, N.C.) — The family of a 42-year-old Black man who died in a barrage of bullets fired at his car by North Carolina sheriff’s deputies said Tuesday that an independent autopsy shows he was shot five times, including once in the back of the head.
Andrew Brown Jr.’s relatives and attorneys announced the outcome of the postmortem exam they commissioned during a news conference Tuesday morning outside the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Department in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, saying it confirms he was “executed.”
“Yesterday, I said he was ‘executed.’ This autopsy report shows me that was correct,” said Brown’s son, Khalil Ferebee.
The announcement came a day after family members were allowed to view what they described as a 20-second clip from one police body camera of the unarmed Brown being shot to death with his hands on the steering wheel of his car outside his home in Elizabeth City.
Dr. Brent Dwayne Hall, the former medical examiner for five northwest North Carolina counties, performed the independent autopsy, the family’s attorney’s said.
Wayne Kendall, an attorney representing Brown’s family, displayed autopsy graphics pointing out that Brown was shot four times in his right arm. Kendall described those wounds as glancing wounds that did not kill Brown.
He said the fatal shot hit Brown as he tried to drive away to save his own life. He said a bullet hit Brown at the base of the back of his skull and lodged in his brain.
“He was able to back up, turn the vehicle around, spin off across a vacant lot. And at that time he was hit in the back of he head and that is the fatal bullet wound,” Kendall said.
Harry Daniels, another attorney for the family, said he has been told by authorities that three deputies opened fire on Brown’s car, including one who reloaded.
Chantel Cherry-Lassiter, one of the family’s attorneys who was allowed to watch the video, said Brown was sitting in his vehicle with his hands on the steering wheel while he was being shot at.
Cherry-Lessiter said that at no time in the short video snippet did she see Brown threatening the officers, adding, “He was trying to evade being shot.”
Seven Pasquotank County deputies involved in the April 21 shooting have been placed on administrative leave while the North Carolina Bureau of Investigation probes the circumstances of the deadly encounter. The names of the deputies have not been released.
Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten said on Monday evening that the county attorney had filed a motion asking a judge to allow the public to see the video, but did not indicate when the footage might be released.
“This tragic incident was quick and over in less than 30 seconds,” Wooten said in a video statement, adding that the footage from officer body cameras is shaky and sometimes hard to decipher.
“They only tell part of the story,” Wooten said.
Relatives of Brown and their attorneys complained that they were not shown all of the video available of the deadly confrontation, including footage of what prompted the shooting and its aftermath.
The Pasquotank County Sheriff Department has released few details of the shooting.
The shooting unfolded about 8:30 a.m. when deputies from Pasquotank and Dare Counties went to Brown’s home to attempt to serve an arrest warrant on Brown that stemmed from a felony drug investigation, officials said.
Deputies opened fire on Brown’s car as he attempted to drive away from his home. A first responder was recorded on 911 dispatch saying Brown was shot in the back.
According to the search warrant obtained by ABC News, sheriff’s investigators wanted to search Brown’s home for crack cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin. In an affidavit attached to the search warrant, detectives claimed they used a confidential informant to record audio and video of the informant purchasing crack cocaine and methamphetamine from Brown on several occasions.
Brown’s family and their attorneys claimed investigators failed to find weapons or drugs in Brown’s vehicle and home.
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