Photo: Jonathan Drake/Reuters
  /  04.29.2021

Four of the seven officers who were placed on adminstrative leave in the wake of Andrew Brown Jr.’s police-involved killing have returned to work. The news was announced on Thursday (April 29) via a press release that also revealed the names of all involved deputies.

According to Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten, Lt. Steven Judd, Sgt. Michael Swindell, Sgt. Kenneth Bishop and Sgt. Joel Lunsford were reinstated to active duty after body cam footage of Brown’s shooting showed they never fired their weapons. Investigator Daniel Meads, Deputy Sheriff II Robert Morgan and Cpl. Aaron Lewellyn — the three other cops —remain on administrative leave as they await results of the ongoing criminal investigation.

“More investigation is necessary into the three deputies who did fire their weapons and they will remain on administrative leave pending completion of the internal investigation and/or the criminal investigation being conducted by the State Bureau of Investigation,” Wooten said.

Brown was killed as he drove away from authorities while they were serving him a search warrant. As REVOLT previously reported, results of an independent autopsy requested by the family showed that he was shot five times, four times in the arm and once in the head. He died from the “kill shot” to the back of his head.

Protesters have gathered consistently to demand that body cam footage be released to the public, but Judge Jeffrey Foster decided against it.

“We are deeply disappointed by the judge’s decision to not make body camera footage from the involved officers available to be viewed by the public,” read a statement from the attorneys for Brown’s family. “In this modern civil rights crisis where we see Black people killed by the police everywhere we look, video evidence is the key to discerning the truth and getting well-deserved justice for victims of senseless murders.”

“Just look at the murder of George Floyd — if the world had not seen that clear and disturbing footage, there might not have even been an ounce of accountability for those officers,” the statement continued. “We refuse to be discouraged and vow to keep the pressure on these agencies until we get to the truth. We will not stop saying his name. Andrew Brown Jr.”

According to Foster, he will reconsider whether bodycam videos will be released within 30 to 45 days after the investigation is complete. Brown’s family, who was previously shown a 20 second edited clip of the video, is permitted to see the extended version of the footage.


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