Truth delivered daily
Carolina Public Press is committed to ethical, nonpartisan reporting on the important issues facing our communities. Make us your source for trusted news in North Carolina.
Nearly a month after the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. by Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies, attorneys for his family petitioned the court to release all body camera footage of the incident and the State Bureau of Investigation report to his adult sons.
Release of the footage is important to clarify the differences in interpretation of the video by District Attorney Andrew Womble and the family, Bakari Sellers, an attorney for the family, told Carolina Public Press. Because Womble is not bringing charges against any officers, the footage should be released, he said.
In a petition filed Tuesday afternoon, Brown family attorney Chantel Cherry-Lassiter requested all unredacted footage from the April 21 shooting be released to Khalil Ferebee and Jharod Ferebee, Brown’s adult sons.
Other parties, including Sheriff Tommy Wooten II and a coalition of media organizations including Carolina Public Press, petitioned the court for the video in late April.
Following a hearing on April 28, Superior Court Judge Jeff Foster authorized the viewing of some of the redacted footage by family and their attorneys but said he would issue an order denying the media coalition request for release to the public.
On May 6, Foster issued an order directing disclosure of portions of the footage with deputies’ faces blurred to Brown’s family.
In his explanation at the hearing, Foster maintained that the media coalition did not have standing to ask for release of the videos. On May 17, he issued an order denying the coalition’s petition.
Cherry-Lassiter’s petition also asked for release of the SBI investigation report. Under state public records law, records of criminal investigations conducted by public law enforcement agencies are not public records but may be released by court order.
Sheriff Wooten said he will release sections of the SBI report once he is legally cleared to do so. Cherry-Lassiter said a partial release of the investigation report is insufficient.
Wooten also filed a petition requesting release of the unredacted footage and noting that “the internal and criminal investigations arising from the incidents have now been concluded.”
The filings come on the same day that District Attorney Womble announced he would not bring criminal charges against any of the three deputies who fired at Brown. Womble said the killing was legally justified because Brown posed a threat to the officers.
Womble showed portions of the body camera footage at the press conference Tuesday morning but declined to release copies to the media, saying he is not the custodian of the footage.
No date is yet set for the family petition to be heard in court.
Editor’s note: This is a developing story and will be updated.