The family of Andrew Brown Jr. will only be allowed to view less than twenty minutes of body camera footage recorded at the scene of his fatal shooting. As NBC News reported, Judge Jeffery Foster ruled that Brown’s relatives can see a fraction of nearly two hours of video, portions that he will specify at a later time.
“The portions of the videos withheld are found to not contain images of the deceased, and thus are not appropriate for disclosure at this time,” Foster wrote.
Family members were previously shown a 20-second clip after authorities pushed back their meeting to redact images and ensure that certain faces in the footage were blurred.
The family called the shooting an “execution” and complained about the lack of transparency amid the investigation, but days later during an April 27 court hearing, Foster agreed to let Brown’s relatives see extended footage of the shooting. The video, he said, would be shown to the family “within 10 days.” In his recent ruling on Thursday (May 6), he clarified that the 10-day period started then. The judge also blocked media viewing the video for at least 30 days, noting he would reconsider his decision after the probe is complete.
Brown was killed by North Carolina deputies who executed a search warrant related to a drug investigation. According to Foster’s recent ruling, the late man “attempted to flee the scene and escape apprehension.” He was struck after “at least one and as many as three officers fired their weapons into the vehicle operated by Brown.”
Relatives and prosecutors have conflicting beliefs of what happened during the encounter after watching some of the footage. According to District Attorney Andrew Womble, Brown’s car made “contact” with police two times before they rang fire, adding that officers made orders and even attempted to open up one of the vehicle’s doors before they shot. Chantel Cherry-Lassiter, the attorney representing Brown’s family, however, claims that shots were heard at the start of the clip before Brown drove his car out of the driveway.
Results of an independent autopsy ordered by Brown’s family showed that he was shot five times but died from a “kill shot” in the back of his head.
A probe and a civil rights investigation into Brown’s death are underway.