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Judge denies release of body cam footage to the public in Andrew Brown Jr. case

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Posted at 1:22 PM, Apr 28, 2021

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. — A North Carolina judge denied a request from the media Wednesday to release body camera footage of the fatal police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. to the public.

The 42-year-old man was shot and killed in Elizabeth City on April 21 as Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies were serving a warrant on felony drug charges.

District Attorney Andrew Womble and the attorneys for Andrew Brown's family sat before the judge Wednesday morning to discuss the release of the footage.

The judge approved further disclosure of the videos, which include four body cameras and one dashcam, to the son of Brown within the next 10 days.

The judge said he will evaluate the release of the videos at a later time after any investigations of the incident are completed.

Pasquotank County Attorney R. Michael Cox stated during his argument for the release of the footage that if the family has seen it, then it should also be released to the media.

Womble claimed that the release of the video would jeopardize the credibility of witnesses. Womble said that there is a difference between "wanting to see the body cams and needing to see the body cams,” in reference to the release.

Womble's argument was that there is no "good cause" for the release of the footage.

The distrct attorney asked the judge to admonish all attorneys in the case after he argued that statements made by Chantel Cherrie-Lassiter were false when she retold what she saw on the body cam footage.

Attorney HP Williams spoke in court on Wednesday on the behalf of the sheriff deputies and their attorneys who he says wish to remain anonymous for fear of their personal safety

HP Williams stated the release of the footage should be denied and he would not oppose disclosure of it if faces are redacted, due to attempts to already identify officers and the threats that have been made. He said that he fears the release could cause a possible influence on jurors.

He asked that if the court does release the footage, that the investigation is completed and the release is delayed 30 days.

HP Williams said officers are very distraught at what happened and feel for the family of Andrew brown, but they believe the shooting is justified.

Attorneys on behalf of the Brown family argued that the district attorney wanting to remove comments made by Lassiter is even more reason to release the footage to allow the public to form their own opinion. The attorney argued how the footage was just recently used in the Derek Chauvin trial regarding George Floyd's death.

The attorneys argued that the release of the footage will not jeopardize the investigation and stated that the SBI did not objectify to its release. The attorney said the release of the officer's names has to come out but agrees with the minimal blurring of faces.

On Tuesday the FBI Charlotte Field Office announced that it opened a federal civil rights investigation into the fatal incident.

There have been seven days of peaceful protestsin Elizabeth City following Brown's death. Protesters are calling for transparency and release of the body cam footage.

This story was originally published by staff at WTKR.