Family of Andrew Brown Jr. to file federal lawsuit
▶ Watch Video: Attorneys for Andrew Brown Jr.’s family continue push for DOJ investigation
The family of Andrew Brown Jr., a Black man who was shot and killed by police in April, plans to file a federal lawsuit over his death, attorney Harry Daniels confirmed to CBS News. The lawsuit will allege that Brown was deprived of his rights “under color of state law.”
Daniels has also said he wants the Department of Justice to “intervene immediately” in the case after it was announced no charges would be filed against any of the officers involved in the shooting. The FBI has also launched an investigation to determine if Brown’s civil rights were violated.
Brown, 42, was killed last month in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, when sheriff’s deputies who were serving felony warrants and a search warrant surrounded his car. Partial video of the shooting, which was shown publicly for the first time on Tuesday, shows the car backing away as officers try to surround it. The car then turns left as Brown attempts to drive away between the officers. The deputies opened fire as the car was driving away, hitting Brown several times, including in the back of the head. The car crashed shortly afterwards.
District Attorney Andrew Womble said Tuesday that the deputies were “justified,” and none of the officers would be charged.
“The officers’ actions were consistent with their training and fully supported under the law in protecting their lives and this community,” Womble said during a press conference. Brown was unarmed, but Womble claimed that he used his car as a “deadly weapon.”
Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten also stood by the deputies, telling CBS News that they did everything right in that particular situation. Wooten did, however, say there is still room for improvement, and walked back statements he made on Tuesday saying the officers needed to be retrained. He clarified that he feels the deputies could benefit from additional training.
“What I meant by ‘retraining’ was come back to the drawing board,” he said. “Let’s take some more classes… do some more advanced training.”
Attorneys for Brown’s family are still calling for all of the body-worn and dashboard camera footage of the shooting to be released. Daniels told CBS News there is no reason not to if the deputies aren’t going to be charged.
Wooten said he has also filed for the video to be released in full. Under North Carolina law, a court order is needed to release video from police cameras.
CNN first reported the family’s intent to file a federal lawsuit.