Protesters in Elizabeth City join statewide marches for transparency in wake of Andrew Brown Jr.’s death

Andrew Brown Jr.

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) — Protesters gathered in Elizabeth City for another night of demonstrations Tuesday; this time in conjunction with other protesters across the state.

The rallies on Tuesday — which were also planned in Asheville, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Raleigh and Winston-Salem — were organized by Repairers of the Breach, the North Carolina Council of Churches and B.R.I.D.G.E.

The organizations are demanding transparency and accountability following the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. by Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies on April 21. Deputies were serving drug-related search and arrest warrants when Brown was fatally shot at a home on Perry Street in Elizabeth City.

At least 50 protesters marched through the streets in Elizabeth City Tuesday night, many of whom have been protesting since Brown died April 21.

The protesters were followed by numerous vehicles, some with their hazard lights on.

The Rev. Javan Leach of Mt. Lebanon AME Zion Church said that while the number of daily protesters may have dwindled in the weeks since Brown was shot, the message is still the same.

They want a “patterns-or-practices” civil rights investigation into the Pasquotank sheriff’s office and District Attorney’s Office by the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.

Protesters said they will keep marching until some consequences are faced by sheriff’s deputies and the sheriff himself.

The Pasquotank County chapter of the NAACP has called on Sheriff Tommy Wooten to resign and for the three deputies that fired their weapons to be fired.

Wooten said he would not do either, but did say the officers would be disciplined and retrained. Four other deputies involved in the shooting returned to work shortly after the incident.

“He has clearly shown that he does not have the structural integrity to run the office of the sheriff’s department,” Keith Rivers, president of the chapter, said Tuesday. “He won’t even meet with us.”

Protesters have also been asking the North Carolina General Assembly to change the law concerning the release of body camera footage. As it currently stands, the law requires a petition to be filed with a Superior Court judge who determines whether to authorize that release.

Body camera footage has not been released publicly from the deputy-involved shooting. Brown’s family has been allowed to view footage, and District Attorney Andrew Womble also showed pieces of the video during a press conference when he announced he would not charge deputies involved in the shooting.

The local NAACP chapter president also said on Tuesday the group is headed to meet with Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday in Raleigh.

There they will encourage Cooper to join their calls for an expedited FBI probe into Brown’s death.

They will also go to Washington D.C. on Thursday to petition the Department of Justice for action on the Andrew Brown case.

“This community is not going back to the way it used to be, that day is over,” Rivers said. “This community has clearly shown, what they expect.”

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