San Francisco Chronicle - (Sunday)

7 deputies put on leave after fatal shooting

- By Allen G. Breed and Jonathan Drew Allen G. Breed and Jonathan Drew are Associated Press writers.

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. — Seven North Carolina deputies have been placed on leave in the aftermath of a Black man being shot and killed by members of their department serving drugrelate­d search and arrest warrants.

The move comes as calls increase for the release of deputy body camera footage amid signs, including emergency scanner traffic, that Andrew Brown Jr. was shot in the back and killed as he was trying to drive away. Pasquotank County Sheriff ’s Office Maj. Aaron Wallio confirmed the number of deputies on leave in an email Friday. Sheriff Tommy Wooten II has previously said multiple deputies fired shots and were placed on leave after Brown was killed Wednesday morning.

Democratic Gov. Roy

Cooper joined calls for the swift release of the body camera footage, saying initial reports of what happened “are tragic and extremely concerning.” “The body camera footage should be made public as quickly as possible,” he said in a tweet Friday night.

On Saturday, Wooten said in a video statement that he would ask a local judge as early as Monday to allow the release of the footage. He said he would first check with the State Bureau of Investigat­ion, which is probing the shooting, to make sure that releasing the video would not hamper their efforts.

The City Council in Elizabeth City unanimousl­y voted to send a letter to the sheriff, local prosecutor and State Bureau of Investigat­ion demanding release of the footage. Wooten has confirmed that at least one deputy was wearing an active body camera but hasn’t given a timetable for releasing it.

“Doing nothing is not an option,” said Councilman Michael Brooks.

The council’s measure isn’t binding on the sheriff ’s office, which is a separate entity from city government. In North Carolina, a judge must generally sign off on release of body camera footage, but the law says anyone can file a petition in court seeking its release. A coalition of news outlets also filed a petition Friday asking a local judge to release the footage.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that President Biden is aware of Brown’s death. “Obviously, the loss of life is a tragedy and obviously we’re thinking of the family members and the community,” Psaki said.

Wooten has said deputies from his department including a tactical team were attempting to serve drugrelate­d search and arrest warrants when Brown was shot, but he has offered few other details. Nearby Dare

County had issued two arrest warrants for Brown on drugrelate­d charges including possession with intent to sell cocaine. Brown, 42, had a criminal history dating back to the 1990s, including past drug conviction­s.

Recordings of scanner traffic compiled by broadcasti­ from the morning of the shooting include emergency personnel indicating that Brown was shot in the back. An eyewitness has said that deputies fired shots at Brown as he tried to drive away, and a car authoritie­s removed from the scene appeared to have multiple bullet holes and a shattered back window.

“We are responding. Law enforcemen­t on scene advises shots fired, need EMS,” says one woman, who refers to the address where the warrant was served. “EMS has got one male 42 years of age, gunshot to the back. We do have viable pulse at this time,” said a male voice. Someone then said that first responders were trying to resuscitat­e the man.

The sheriff, district attorney and state medical examiner didn’t respond to emails asking for comment on the scanner traffic. The State Bureau of Investigat­ion, which is looking into the shooting, declined to comment.

WAVYTV first reported the number of deputies who were on leave or had resigned.

During demonstrat­ions, protesters questioned why deputies opened fire in a residentia­l area down the street from an elementary school. Brown’s car came to rest in front of a house near yellow road signs marking the approach to the school.

 ?? Robert Willett / Raleigh News & Observer ?? Kirk Rivers addresses demonstrat­ors who gathered Friday outside City Hall in Elizabeth City, N.C., to protest the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr.
Robert Willett / Raleigh News & Observer Kirk Rivers addresses demonstrat­ors who gathered Friday outside City Hall in Elizabeth City, N.C., to protest the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr.

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