Hundreds of supporters of Andrew Brown Jr.’s family wrote along his open casket on Sunday the day before his funeral and then held a peaceful protest calling for the police to release the bodycam footage of his death.
Brown, 42, was shot and killed while behind the wheel of his car in his driveway by Pasquotank County deputies who served drug-related search and arrest warrants at 8:30 a.m. in Elizabeth City, North Carolina on April 21.
Mourners gathered on Sunday, the day before his funeral, when his body was displayed at two locations around the city.
Community members began their march with a viewing of Brown Jr.’s body. at the Horton funeral home.
His chest was covered with a satin sheet and surrounded by vases of red roses.
Among the mourners who paid their respects were Brown’s family, friends, and neighbors, as well as local beliefs and city leaders.
Brown’s body was later moved to an auditorium at the Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City, where by late afternoon about 300 people had watched it. The News & Observer reported.
Edwin and Ella Newby pay their respects to Andrew Brown Jr.’s open casket. at a funeral home in Hertford
Protesters comfort each other in peaceful rally on Sunday morning – day before Andrew Brown was to be buried
A funeral home employee stands by Andrew Brown Jr.’s open casket. during a viewing in Hertford, North Carolina
Mourners Edwin and Ella Newby watch a slide show of Brown’s life next to his casket at Horton’s Funeral Home in Hertford, North Carolina
Andrew Brown was shot by delegates in North Carolina on April 21 while executing an arrest warrant
The solemn procession continued to nearby Waterfront Park, where members of the community held a press briefing to once again call for police to release the video footage.
On Wednesday, a judge declined to release bodycam footage of Brown being shot after a prosecutor said he hit deputies with his car before firing the shots that killed him.
Judge Jeffrey Foster rejected a media petition to release the images publicly for at least 30 days, saying it could hamper the ongoing investigation.
Since Brown’s death on April 21, the city of Elizabeth City has been rocked by nearly two weeks of consecutive protests calling for greater law enforcement transparency, with protesters and police clashing in the streets.
However, Sunday’s march had two themes according to the local clergy: peace and fellowship.
“We’re building a community around Andrew Brown’s death because what’s happening here in Pasquotank is happening everywhere,” said organizer Rev. Greg Drumwright. Wavy.com.
“We will continue to press from all sides, from activism to policymaking, to make sure there is some change in this province and throughout North Carolina,” he said.
The FBI’s field office in Charlotte, which opened a civil rights investigation into Brown’s death, said in a statement earlier this week that its agents planned to work closely with the Justice Department “ to determine if federal laws were being violated. ” .
Afterwards, lawyers for the Brown family said they had “great confidence” in the investigation.
They also mentioned separate images taken by a neighbor of a large group of cops seeing Brown Jr.’s car. “an inflamed modern lynch mob” surrounded.
The independent autopsy was performed last week by a pathologist hired by Brown’s family. The study found four wounds on the right arm and one on the head. The state autopsy has not yet been released.
Two of Brown’s children pose with family members next to a mural of Brown on the side of a house
A protester carries a sign that reads ‘Blue Lives Murder’ as people took to the streets of Elizabeth City, North Carolina again to argue for the release of bodycam footage
A protester looks for a crowd gathering outside the sheriff’s building in Pasquatank County, 11 days after deputies murdered Andrew Brown
Local artist and business owner Ulysses Edwards, with microphone, speaking in Andrew Brown Jr.’s home during a stop in a march. Edwards spoke of painting a memorial mural in honor of Brown on the side of Brown’s house
Andrew Brown Jr., murdered by police on April 21, poses with his daughter in an undated photo
The family’s lawyers have also released a copy of the death certificate, which lists the cause of death as a ‘penetrating gunshot wound to the head’.
The certificate, signed by a paramedic services instructor who acts as a local medical examiner, describes the death as a murder.
Brown’s family drew up a pathology report that showed he was shot four times in the arm and one time in the back of the head.
They have called the killing an “execution.”
Terrell Green, Brown’s cousin, came to pay his respects Sunday morning.
Green told The News & Observer he was with Brown the night he died.
He said he had attended the nighttime protests, where protesters demanded the release of all CCTV footage and dashcam cameras.
“I just feel like they’re trying to hide something,” Green said. “We just want the truth.”
The president of the NAACP in North Carolina, Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, told Wavy.com : ‘I think they are encouraged by the consistency they have seen coming from the community. And I believe the community will continue to do things that are sustainable for them, and will continue to embrace and support them to move forward. ‘
Mourners will gather for Brown’s funeral on Monday, with hymns intending to celebrate his legacy and reflect on his life.
The invitation-only service at noon at a church in Elizabeth City follows the previous day’s public viewings.
Reverend Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy, and speakers include Brown’s relatives, as well as attorney Ben Crump, who represents Brown’s family, and Reverend William Barber II, leader of the Poor People’s campaign.
Relatives have said that Brown was a proud father of seven, known for entertaining family members with his stories and jokes.
Brown’s family asked Sharpton to deliver the eulogy because they felt the civil rights leader would properly honor his legacy. Sharpton recently delivered the eulogy for Daunte Wright, who was shot and murdered by a Minnesota police officer.
Sharpton told The Associated Press that he wants to both celebrate Brown’s life and draw attention to bigger police crackdown issues that need to be addressed.
‘I would like to convey that this is a human. And for us it is part of an ongoing abuse of police force, ”he said.