The day before the family and friends of slain father Andrew Brown Jr. paid their respects on Monday in a North Carolina museum, a journalist walked through the home Brown was shot just outside of. Brown’s neighbor Michael Gordon told journalist Hunter Walker that Brown’s car crashed into the crepe myrtle tree in his front yard. It’s “still studded with bits of automotive glass and plastic,” Walker wrote in his online newsletter on Sunday.
A private autopsy revealed that North Carolina deputies serving a warrant for Brown’s arrest shot him five times, once in the back of his head, causing him to crash his car into the tree, attorneys for his family said at a news conference on Tuesday. Brown, a father of seven, survived the four initial shots with his hands on the steering wheel of his car but he was killed while trying to escape the gunfire on April 21 in Elizabeth City, Brown family attorneys have maintained.
“A deep groove was visible on the awning over his front porch where he said the bullet first hit,” Walker penned of Gordon’s home. “That path led straight through a hole in the wall that opened into Gordon’s living room, inches above the headrest of a chair where he said his wife ‘sits all the time.’
”Gordon said the bullet continued traveling and pierced the wall of his kitchen, passing over a small dining room table and smashing into a crock pot that was sitting on a counter. A deep dent was visible in the pot, which sat next to a large picture of former President Obama. Gordon pointed to the dining room table just below the bullet hole and said he is grateful his grandchildren were not visiting that morning.”
Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten released a statement ABC News obtained on Sunday asking protesters to stay peaceful. “I and the entire Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office fully support the right to peacefully protest and assemble,” Wooten wrote. “The tragic death of Andrew Brown Jr. has deeply impacted many people in our community. This weekend, we ask that everyone respect the family and those mourning. We also ask that everyone respect the hardworking families in Pasquotank County who run small businesses and employ so many in our community.”
Ben Crump, one of the Brown family’s attorneys who viewed a portion of body-camera video released to the family, told Walker he doesn’t think officials want video of the shooting released publicly because “there is no coming back” from that. “They were shooting recklessly, but until you come and see it for yourself, you can’t quite understand the level of recklessness,” Crump said.
The next day, the memorial service and public viewing for Brown began at the Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City. Rev. Al Sharpton pressed officials to publically release body-camera footage in what NPR counted as his second eulogy in two weeks. “This must stop. Enough is enough,” Sharpton said. “How many funerals do we have to have until we tell the Congress and the Senate that you’ve got to do something in these times?”
Crump, who also represented the family of George Floyd, said in remarks at Brown’s funeral that “we could barely celebrate” after a jury convicted former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin of murder for kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. “We thought that George Floyd represented that we were going to stop this unnecessary and unjustifiable killings of Black men,” he said. Activists and those watching the trial throughout the country alike thought wrong.
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