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Family of man killed by police to get $3 million in settlement

(ELIZABETH CITY, N.C.) — A North Carolina sheriff’s office said Wednesday it has reached a settlement with the estate of Andrew Brown Jr., an unarmed Black man shot by police last year.

An independent autopsy conducted by Brown’s relatives last year showed he was shot five times, including once in the back of the head. His family had filed a $30 million lawsuit against the investigator, sheriff and several others in the sheriff’s department.

Brown, 42, died on April 21, 2021, after a barrage of bullets were fired at his car by North Carolina sheriff’s deputies. Wayne Kendall, an attorney representing Brown’s family, said at the time the fatal shot hit him in the back of his neck as he was trying to drive away.

Last year, 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.

Brown’s children are the heirs to his estate, Sheriff Tommy Wooten II said in a statement.

An attorney for the family said they are satisfied with the result.

“This settlement will do exactly what it intended to do [to] take care of Andrew Brown Jr.’s children for years to come,” Harry Daniels, an attorney for the Brown family, said at a press conference.

“There’s no amount of money that can recover or take place the loss that the family is experiencing,” Daniels added.

The Pasquotank County’s insurance policy will pay for $2 million of the settlement, according to the limits of its policy, and the remaining $1 million will be paid by a special appropriation approved by the Pasquotank County Board of Commissioners, Wooten said.

“I understand that there are no words I can say that will alleviate your pain. I do offer my most sincere sympathies and compassion to you as you continue to grieve the loss of Andrew Brown Jr.,” Wooten said.

Wooten said Tuesday the department has made changes since Brown was killed last year.

“We had a lot of good things with the sheriff’s office as far as training that have come through this. We have severely advanced our training to be able to do our job more efficiently,” Wooten told reporters.

The settlement resolves any and all potential liability against Wooten and the individual officers named in the lawsuit.

The agreement was reached as part of a judicial settlement conference conducted by Judge James Gates of the United States District Court in Raleigh last month.

“Andrew Brown Jr. was a devoted father who wanted his children to have the things he didn’t. While no settlement could ever fill the hole his death left in their hearts, this agreement is about providing for those children’s futures, securing their education, and ensuring their dreams didn’t die with their father,” attorneys for the Brown family said.

They added, “No settlement can alleviate the loss to Mr. Brown’s children. However, the Estate of Andrew Brown accepts this settlement.”

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