May 7 (UPI) — A North Carolina judge has ruled to allow the family of Andrew Brown Jr., to view the body-worn camera footage of the police shooting of the man.
Pasquotank County Superior Court Judge Jeff Foster’s Thursday ruling came more than a week after he delayed the release the videos.
His new order required that the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office blur out the faces of the deputies shown in the videos amid an investigation into the shooting. There are four body cam videos and one dashboard camera video.
Family members can view the videos, but may not make recordings of them to share publicly.
The family said they’ve already seen one 20-second video clip of the shooting, and said it showed Brown had his hands on his steering wheel when officers opened fire on him April 21. Family attorney Chantel Cherry-Lassiter said Brown posed no threat to officers at the time he was shot, and his vehicle only stopped moving after the initial gunfire.
A private autopsy released last month determined that Brown was shot five times, including once in the back of the head.
Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble, who argued in court that publicly releasing the videos would threaten any fair trial for the officers involved in the shooting, said Cherry-Lassiter’s assessment of the video clip was “patently false.” He said Brown attempted to escape by driving his vehicle into police vehicles, which had boxed him in during the arrest.
He said Brown’s car moved toward officers and made contact with them.
“It is then and only then that you hear shots,” Womble said in court.
Civil rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton said earlier this week that the court’s delay in publicly releasing the full videos was a “con game.”
“The county, the city and the D.A., they’re playing a shell game,” Sharpton said as part of his eulogy for Brown.
“They’re saying that they don’t want to release the tape because it might prejudice a grand jury. Well, the grand jury is supposed to see the tape themselves … I know a con game when I see it. Release the whole tape and let the folks see what happened to Andrew Brown.”
The civil rights activist disputed the legitimacy of the delay, saying, “You don’t need time to get a tape out. Put it out. Let the world see what it is to see. If you got nothing to hide, then what are you hiding?”