Civil rights leaders, looking to expedite federal probe into law enforcement killing of Andrew Brown, meet with Gov. Cooper

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WAVY) — At least two dozen Pasquotank County residents met with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday.

The group traveled to Raleigh to express concerns over the death of Andrew Brown Jr., who was shot killed by Pasquotank County deputies in Elizabeth City April 21.

“This trip is to go to Raleigh to begin talking about legislation that we need to be introducing,” said Elizabeth City resident and Pasquotank County NAACP president Kirk Rivers. 

Cooper was also joined by Attorney General Josh Stein, members of the Legislative Black Caucus, the Pasquotank County NAACP, NC NAACP and other Pasquotank leaders.

The meeting came a day after protests in eight North Carolina cities Tuesday night, with faith leaders calling for accountability and transparency.

“We’ve been out here marching for the last 43 days, and we are asking for truth,” added resident Cheryl Morrison.

Residents asked Cooper about possible bills such as one to get body camera video released easier than having to go to court.

“Why couldn’t we see the film?” asked resident Marie Franz. “I’m a family member, so why we can’t see the film? Why did you chop it and then close the case?”

Two weeks ago, Pasquotank District Attorney Andrew Womble said the deputies were justified in the shooting. All three of the deputies were cleared of any wrongdoing and can return to work.

Rivers says the sheriff’s office policy was violated when deputies shot into a moving car. Rivers said they will continue protesting until the deputies are fired and the sheriff resigns. “This community has clearly shown, what they expect.”

In April, Cooper released a statement calling for a special prosecutor to handle the case.

The meeting with Cooper on Wednesday lasted for about an hour and a half.

Cooper’s office sent out a news release after the meeting, saying he “continued to express his belief that federal officials should continue to investigate this shooting and that special prosecutors should handle cases of police shootings. The Governor also expressed his support of a change in state law to increase public access to incident footage including body camera footage.”

“It was an amazing meeting with committed people who are searching for justice,” Cooper added.

Cooper says he believes body camera video should be released quicker and that special prosecutors should be called in whenever there is an officer involved shooting. He vowed to community members more would be done.

“It’s clear that we have a lot of work to do to fight for racial justice,” Cooper said. 

“We felt it was a very productive meeting,” added Rivers. “I think they understand that their presence is requested.”

“This would help assure the community and Mr. Brown’s family that a decision on pursuing criminal charges is conducted without bias. This position is consistent with the change in the law recommended by our Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice which calls for a special prosecutor in police shootings, and I believe the law should be changed to help ensure it.”

Here’s a full list of those who attended Wednesday’s meeting:

  • Governor Cooper
  • Attorney General Stein
  • Rev. Dr. T Anthony Spearman, NC NAACP
  • Keith Rivers, Pasquotank NAACP
  • Rep. Kelly Alexander
  • Sen. Robinson
  • Rep. Gailliard
  • Sen. Murdock
  • Sen. Mohammed
  • Rep. Raymond Smith
  • Rep. Kandie Smith
  • Rep. Amos Quick
  • Rep. Abe Jones
  • Sen. Joyce Wadell
  • Rep. Carolyn Logan
  • Rep. Nasif Majeed
  • Rep. Brandon Lofton
  • Sen. Gladys Robinson
  • Rep. James Gailliard
  • Sen. Natalie Murdock
  • Sen. Mujtaba Mohammed
  • Approx. 25 Pasquotank community members


The group also plans to travel to Washington D.C. on Thursday to meet with Department of Justice leaders.

WAVY.com will be sure to follow this story and let you know what happens.

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