WASHINGTON (WAVY/NEXSTAR) — Community leaders from Elizabeth City and Pasquotank County, North Carolina, traveled to Washington D.C. Thursday as they shared Andrew Brown Jr.’s story with officials at the United States Department of Justice.
“I think the meeting went exceedingly well,” said T. Anthony Spearman, president of the North Carolina NAACP.
Spearman joined the group in asking the Department of Justice to review the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office practices.
In the wake of the killing of Brown — who was fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies as they attempted to serve a search warrant at a home on Perry Street in Elizabeth City — Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble said the use of force was justified.
The deputies who fired their weapons will not face charges, but Pasquotank Sheriff Tommy Wooten II said they would be disciplined and retrained. Seven deputies were involved in the shooting, but only three fired their weapons. The four others returned to work shortly after the shooting.
Protesters and activists have been pressing officials to release body camera footage from the incident to the public, which requires a Superior Court order. A judge thus far has denied the release of the footage to anyone except a select few members of Brown’s family.
Protesters also want North Carolina laws regarding body camera footage to be changed so they’re less restrictive.
“We want to see the laws changed,” said Keith Rivers, president of the Pasquotank County NAACP, who also traveled to the capital Thursday.
The meeting was only set to last for about 30 minutes but went for just about an hour at the Department of Justice.
Those who attended the meeting said they felt their voices were heard.
“I mean they leaned in to what was being said by the people of Elizabeth City, and that’s a wonderful thing,” Spearman said.
“They heard us, they see us and we know that justice is gonna be served,” Rivers added.
They have hope their meeting in Washington will bring about change.
The group’s visit to Washington D.C. comes just one day after they met with North Carolina leaders including Gov. Roy Cooper in Raleigh.
While in Raleigh, the group urged North Carolina lawmakers to change the body camera footage law.
Cooper said Wednesday he believed body camera video should be released quicker. In April, Cooper also released a statement calling for a special prosecutor to handle the case.
Protesters have been in the streets of Elizabeth City nearly every day since Brown’s death.
Rivers and Spearman said peaceful protests in Elizabeth City will continue until things change.
“We will not go back to business as usual,” Rivers said.