Andrew Brown Jr. Funeral: Rev. Al Sharpton Calls For Justice
At the funeral services for Andrew Brown Jr., in Elizabeth City, N.C., Rev. Al Sharpton echoed the growing call for justice and new policy in the fatal shooting of the 42-year-old father, whose family continues to demand the release of the body cam footage.
“This must stop, enough is enough” said Sharpton, standing in front of a large photo of Brown at Fountain of Life Church.
“How many funerals do we have to have before we tell the Congress and the Senate that you’ve got to do something in these times? We have the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, this must happen in these times, just like the Civil Rights Act of ‘64 was on time, the Voting RIghts Act of 65 was on time, the times call for a policing act.”
Brown was killed by Pasquotank County deputies on April 21 when they were trying to execute a warrant. They opened fire as he attempted to drive away, at least one of the shots hit him in the back of the head. His family has called the shooting an “execution” and criticized North Carolina law enforcement officials who have only shown them a redacted version of the body camera video. They have called for the public release of the full video, according to CBS News.
“We are here to make this plea for justice because Andrew Brown was killed unjustifiably as many Black men in America have been killed,” said attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Brown’s family as co-counsel and is also calling for the release of the video.
“Because Andrew cannot make the plea for justice, it is up to us to make the plea for justice.”
In the days prior to the funeral, as hundreds assembled to mourn Brown, demonstrators continued to chant in the streets for the release of the tape. Last week, Pasquotank County N.C., Superior Court Judge Jeff Foster ruled that the video would not be publicly released, however, it could still be released after a state investigation, the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot reported.
Police body camera videos are not considered public record in North Carolina and need a court order before being released.
Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble has argued against releasing the video, saying that it could interfere with the investigation being conducted by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. He also said Brown struck the deputies with his car while backing up and moving forward before he was shot.
Family attorney Chantal Cherry-Lassiter has disputed his version, saying in the 20-second clip she did not see Brown’s car touch any of the deputies.
Brown’s death came not 24 hours after a Minneapolis jury convicted former officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd. Two of his family members, brother Terrence Floyd and sister Bridgette Floyd, were at the services to support Brown’s family.
“I feel the pain that this family is feeling,” said Bridgette Floyd. “No matter the way it went, it was wrong. Sleepless nights, long days, heartache and panic. But still I rise. I just want to let you guys know today, trouble don’t [sic] last always.