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Black man's fatal shooting called 'unlawful'

By BELINDA ROBINSON IN NEW YORK | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-04-23 10:55
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Demonstrators walk down Ehringhaus Street during a protest march on April 22, 2021 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The protest was sparked by the police killing of Andrew Brown Jr on April 21. [Photo/Agencies]

North Carolina officials on Thursday faced growing pressure to release body camera footage of the death of Andrew Brown Jr, a 42-year-old black man who was shot by law enforcement officers on Wednesday in Elizabeth City.

Harry Daniels, the Brown family's attorney, said at a news conference that Brown was unarmed when he was shot Wednesday. Daniels called the shooting an "unlawful, unjustified killing" in which multiple officers shot as Brown fled the scene in a vehicle.

"To my understanding, there is body camera footage to this incident, and it has not been released. A lot of speculation is going on — we're asking for answers, accountability and transparency," Daniels said. "This is something we are demanding, immediate release."

Daniels said he believes that three deputies fired their weapons, and all are on administrative leave.

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation on Thursday said it continues its investigation, but only the Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office or the district attorney's office can release the video footage.

"What we are looking for at this time will be accurate answers and not fast answers," District Attorney Andrew Womble said at a news conference Wednesday. "We're going to wait for the full and complete investigation ... and we'll review that and make any determinations that we deem appropriate at that time. This will not be a rush to judgment."

Officials provided few details about the incident, which happened about 8:30 am. They didn't say what the warrant was for nor how many shots were fired at Brown.

About 300 people marched in protest on Thursday evening through downtown Elizabeth City. Like those the night before, they peacefully marched through downtown Elizabeth City in northeastern North Carolina, about 165 miles from Raleigh.

The shooting death of Brown, a father of 10 children, came a day after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in the May 2020 killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man.

In Minneapolis on Thursday, hundreds of people gathered for the funeral of Daunte Wright, the 20-year-old father shot by a veteran Minnesota police officer during a traffic stop in the city of Brooklyn Center, a Minneapolis suburb.

"He was a brother, a jokester," Wright's mother, Katie, said as she fought back tears. "He was loved by so many. He is going to be so missed.

"The roles are completely reversed. My son should be burying me," she said.

She reflected on Wright's son, Daunte Jr, and the "joy" the child brought him: "He was so happy and so proud, and he said he couldn't wait to make his son proud."

Mourners included the Democratic governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz, who issued a proclamation calling for a statewide moment of silence during the first two minutes of Wright's funeral starting at noon. The edict linked Wright's death to "deep, systemic racism".

Wright was killed on April 11 after police pulled him over for driving a car with an expired license plate. During a struggle, police officer Kim Potter warned that she would use her Taser but shot Wright with her gun instead. Police said she mistook the weapons.

Democratic Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar told mourners at the Shiloh Temple International Ministries that the conviction of Chauvin didn't equate to justice for all those wrongfully killed by law enforcement.

"True justice is not done as long as having expired tags means losing your life during a traffic stop," Klobuchar said. "True justice is not done as long as black Americans are killed by law enforcement at more than twice the rate of white Americans."'

The Justice Department on Wednesday announced an investigation into the practices and conduct of the Minneapolis Police Department. The investigation will examine whether there has been a pattern "of unconstitutional or unlawful policing" in Minneapolis, US Attorney General Merrick Garland said Wednesday.

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