North Carolina: Activists Denounce Failure to Charge Police Who Murdered Andrew Brown Jr.

Cover Photo: Meko Williams, a mother of a man killed by police, speaks at a Charlotte rally.

By Sarah Ahmed

Rallies were held in Charlotte and other cities across North Carolina this past Tuesday in protest of the Pasquotank County District Attorney’s (DA) decision last month to not charge the sheriff’s deputies that murdered unarmed Black man Andrew Brown Jr. as he fled police in fear for his life.

On April 21, Elizabeth City sheriff’s deputies and police officers ambushed Brown outside his home in full tactical gear with guns drawn. The redacted body camera footage shows Brown first reversing away from the officers surrounding his car, then driving in between two officers when they fire the first bullet through his front windshield. This was followed by 14 more shots from police, with one bullet fatally striking him in the back of the head.

Andrew Brown Jr., 42

In Elizabeth City, protesters have taken the streets every night since Brown was murdered. In one protest in April, marchers blocked the highway bridge that leads traffic across the Pasquotank River into the city.

At a rally this past Tuesday, numerous speakers denounced the DA’s false claims that the deputies were “endangered,” when the body camera footage shows Brown driving away. The organizers called for the full footage of Brown’s murder to be released.

Meko Williams, the mother of La-reko Williams (a black man who was tased to death by Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police in 2011), spoke at the rally to criticize the selective release of body camera footage by police.

“I want police to stop being like movie directors,” Williams said. “Police are always doing a final cut on what they release to the public. We want the real footage, not the one you doctor up and edit.”

Bonita Winchester, the mother of Aaron Winchester, murdered by Charlotte-Mecklenberg police in 2008, spoke at the rally and expressed her condolences to the Brown family, saying, “This is a pain that’s unexplainable as a mother, to lose a child to the hands of a police officer where you can do nothing. […] My fire’s been burning for thirteen years and nothing has been done.”

The Pasquotank County District Attorney, Anthony Womble, ruled on May 18 that the deputies were justified in their murder of Brown, closing the state’s investigation. Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten said in a Facebook video that all deputies responsible will keep their jobs. The three officers who shot Brown are currently on administrative leave. Organizers rallying this past week have called for an expedited federal investigation into Brown’s murder.

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