An investigation by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation found the police killing of Black man Andrew Brown Jr. was “justified.”
Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble said Tuesday that three officers involved in the killing of Brown “reasonably believed” that deadly force was justified.
“Mr. Brown’s death, while tragic, was justified, because Mr. Brown’s actions caused three deputies with the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office to reasonably believe it was necessary to use deadly force to protect themselves and others,” Womble said.
Brown was killed April 21 in Elizabeth City during a drug-related search warrant. Body camera footage of the encounter shows Brown reverse his car before driving forward as he attempts to flee and officers fire at his vehicle. He was shot five times.
Womble said Brown reversed his car before “driving directly” at deputies after they had stopped him.
Attorneys for Brown’s family called Womble’s comments “a slap in the face to Andrew’s family.”
“Andrew Brown Jr., his grieving family, and this community deserve answers,” attorneys for Brown’s family said in a statement. “And they received anything but from D.A. Womble’s attempt to whitewash this unjustified killing. To say this shooting was justified, despite known facts, is both an insult and a slap in the face to Andrew’s family.”
Brown’s family, who previously saw body camera footage from the incident, called the killing an “execution.”
“My dad got executed just by trying to save his own life,” Brown’s son, Khalil Ferebee, said at a news conference last month.
Womble said police engaged Brown, who has a history of criminal charges including assault and resisting arrest, to serve two felony arrest warrants and a search warrant.
“Officers were duty-bound to stand their ground, carry on the performance of their duties and take Andrew Brown into custody,” Womble said. “They could not simply let him go, as has been suggested. He engaged in dangerous, felony-level misconduct as he decided to flee.”
Womble said no charges would be filed against any of the deputies involved in the shooting.
The FBI has launched a separate civil rights probe of the shooting, which remains ongoing.