Body camera footage from sheriff’s deputies’ fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. will need to be “redacted” before his family can see it, authorities announced on Monday (April 26). Lawyers accused city officials of “walking back” on their word after telling Brown’s relatives they’d be able to view the footage this morning at 11:30 a.m. local time.
An hour before the scheduled meeting, the family received word about an “unexpected delay,” ABC News reports. Harry Daniels, one of the attorneys representing Brown’s relatives, said Pasquotank County Attorney Michael Cox told him in an email that redactions were still being made to the video.
“I was told by the district attorney that the family will get to see the raw footage, not the redacted version,” Daniels said during a press conference in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. “These county administrators are walking back [on] the promises they have made. Show the tape. If you ain’t got nothing to hide, show the tape.”
In a statement, County Attorney Cox explained that while state law allows Brown’s family to see the video in private, the law “also allows us to blur some faces on the video and that process takes time.”
“This may be done when necessary to protect an active internal investigation,” he added. “As soon as these redactions are complete, we will allow the family to view this footage. We hope this occurs today, but the actual time will be driven by completion of the redactions.”
Ben Crump, who is also representing Brown’s family, claimed the department “would have no problem” releasing the video if it showed the deputies in a flattering light.
“It only seems to be [that] when the video has the police doing something wrong, then they’ve got to redact, then they don’t want to show it,” he said at the press conference.
Elizabeth City Mayor Bettie Parker declared a state of emergency in the city on Monday morning in anticipation of the release of the footage. After the video is shown to Brown’s family, a court will need to order its release to the public, per North Carolina state law.
“It seems likely that the video and audio footage will be released in the very near future,” Parker said in a statement. “In order to ensure the safety of our citizens and their property, city officials realize there may potentially be a period of civil unrest within the city following the public release of that footage.”
ABC News reports peaceful protests have continued in the city as community members call for officials to release the footage. As reported by REVOLT, Brown was fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies last Wednesday (April 21) while they were serving him a search warrant. Brown was driving away from deputies when they opened fire.
Seven Pasquotank County deputies were subsequently placed on administrative leave and three deputies have retired from the department. None of the deputies involved have been identified or fired.