ELIZABETH CITY, Va. (WAVY) — As Andrew Brown Jr.’s family prepares to say their final goodbyes — the community focuses their conversation about what they call necessary changes needed from lawmakers.
Community members marched in Elizabeth City the day before the funeral for Brown, the man killed by law enforcement on April 21.
The peaceful protesters began their march early Sunday afternoon with a public viewing for Brown. Brown was shot and killed on April 21 by Pasquotank County deputies serving drug-related search and arrest warrants at a Perry Street home.
“I think they’re encouraged by the consistency that they’ve been seeing coming out of the community. And I believe the community will continue to do things that are sustainable for them and continue to embrace and support them moving forward,” North Carolina NAACP president Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman.
On Sunday, community members held two press briefings with the first held near Waterfront Park. At least 150 to 200 people attended the first briefing including Brown’s children, and local faith and city leaders.
Watch the full briefing below:
Peace and community are the two themes of today’s march. Sunday’s event was organized by the Justice for the Next Generation Coalition and the Brown family.
“We’re building a community around Andrew Brown’s death because what happens here in Pasquotank is happening all over,” said organizer Rev. Greg Drumwright.
“We’re going to keep applying pressure from all sides from activism to policy shaping to make sure that there’s some change in this county and throughout North Carolina.”
During the march, the body of Andrew Brown Jr. was brought into the Museum of the Albermarle for public viewing.
The march ended near Brown’s home where the second press briefing was held. Relative Lee Ferebee said Brown’s family asked Sharpton to deliver the eulogy because they felt the civil rights leader would honor his legacy.
Even though Brown will be laid to rest Monday, faith and community leaders say they will not rest until state and federal lawmakers pass sweeping criminal justice reforms including the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
“We want to see the appropriate legislation be passed into law to make sure, to ensure that these kinds of grievances never happen again to another family,” said Rev. Spearman.
Community members wishing to send flowers for the funeral can click here.
Protesters have taken to the streets for days following Brown’s death, now the 12th day, demonstrating and demanding authorities release body camera footage of the shooting, even after a judge ordered a delay on the public release of the footage.
“The release at this time would create a serious threat to the fair, impartial and orderly administration of justice,” said Judge Jeffrey Foster during a hearing on April 28.
Foster said the video won’t be released for a minimum of 30 days (or a maximum of 45) as authorities investigate.
However, all footage from multiple body cameras will be made available to be viewed by Brown’s immediate family (with redactions allowed) within 10 days. Brown’s family has seen one 20-second clip from one bodycam so far.
WAVY-TV 10 and more than 20 other local and national media outlets, including CNN, USA Today and the New York Times, petitioned for the release of the video. But Foster’s ruling said that the media members did not have standing to ask for the release of the video.
Once the 30 to 45-day window is reached, the judge will determine if the family can obtain a copy of the video, which they could then publicly disseminate.