The FBI office in Charlotte, North Carolina has opened a federal civil rights investigation into the fatal police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. “Agents will work closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina and the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice to determine whether federal laws were violated. As this is an ongoing investigation, we cannot comment further,” an FBI spokesperson said.
Brown, a 42-year-old Black man, was fatally shot by police officers in Elizabeth City, North Carolina as he drove away from authorities while they were serving him a search warrant on April 21. The announcement from the FBI comes after the family was allowed to view a 20-second video of his deadly arrest and after the results of their independent autopsy were revealed.
According to the independent autopsy, which was performed by Dr. Brent Hall, Brown was shot five times, including four times in his right arm. He was also hit with a “kill shot” to the back of the head, which caused him to lose control of his vehicle and crash into a tree. His death certificate says he died within a matter of minutes due to a gunshot wound to the head.
On Monday (April 26), Brown’s family and attorney were shown a 20-second clip of video from one officer's body camera, in which they claim showed an “execution.” The county attorney filed a motion with the court to have the video released publicly.
Attorneys Ben Crump, Bakari Sellers, Harry Daniels and Chantel Cherry-Lassiter released a joint statement following the announcement of an FBI investigation into Brown’s death. “We have great faith that this caliber of an investigation will prevent any obscuring of the facts released to the Brown family and public, and will overcome any local bias that may prevent justice from being served.”
“The video leaked earlier today shows what we already suspected: Andrew Brown Jr. was brought down by an inflamed modern-day lynch mob,” the statement continued. “The footage shows an eerie resemblance to what we saw in Ahmaud Arbery’s modern-day lynching, except these were no vigilantes – these murderers were on the clock as law enforcement. We believe that once the long-awaited body camera footage is released, we will be able to fill in the gaps to this story and hold the officers responsible for Andrew Brown’s death accountable. The longer law enforcement waits to release the body camera footage to the Brown family and the public, the more our suspicions are raised. This leaked footage hints as to why.”