The fatal police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. by North Carolina deputies was “justified” because he posed “an immediate threat to others,” prosecutors said Tuesday, as new police body camera footage showing the deadly encounter was released.
“This case clearly illustrates the officers who used deadly force on Andrew Brown Jr. did so reasonably, and only when a violent felon, used a deadly weapon to place their lives in danger,” District Attorney R. Andrew Womble said at a press conference.
“The shooting of Brown was justified to prevent potential harm to those living near where the incident occurred, as well as pedestrians, support deputies and the deputies who were in front of Mr. Brown.”
A brief, one-minute clip of the fatal shooting was also released by the DA’s Office showing the deputies who were executing a search warrant rushing up to Brown’s car after blocking his driveway.
Brown then appears to back up in his BMW as deputies yell, “Stop the f–king car!”
One of the deputies can be seen stepping in front of Brown’s car as he turns slowly onto the grass.
The body camera is then covered as cops continue screaming to stop and shots ring out.
Womble said he believed Brown’s use of the car while trying to get away from police, striking one officer, created “an immediate threat to others.”
“If there were no deputies in his path, I could have looked at this differently,” said Womble.
The DA for North Carolina’s First Judicial District said no officer will be criminally charged.
The DA’s Office only released one short clip of the encounter and put the onus on the courts to make the remaining recordings public. Another body camera recording was released but it showed the aftermath.
Brown was shot twice, one in the right arm and the second in the back of the head, while deputies were executing a search warrant at his Elizabeth City home on April 21, according to Womble.
An autopsy showed the second shot proved fatal, striking him in the base of the skull, Womble said.
Crystal meth was found in Brown’s mouth, according to the autopsy.
Brown’s family has called the incident an “execution.”
Womble defended the deputies’ actions, saying the officers should not have retreated and state case law allowed for cops to continue firing as the car pulled away.
The current status of the seven deputies who were placed on administrative leave was not immediately known.