A relative of Andrew Brown Jr., who was fatally shot by police last week, has offered a different account of what happened in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, when police fired on him.
One member of Brown’s family—who requested to have their identity concealed—told CNN on Friday that Brown was trying to reverse his car and police “started shooting the front windshield.”
“And then he took off to go across the yard and they started shooting the back window of his car,” the relative said.
They also shared photographs with CNN that appear to show a Pasquotank County, North Carolina Sheriff Department truck in Andrew Brown Jr.’s driveway. There were also pictures of Brown’s car following the shooting that show at least one bullet hole in the vehicle’s front windshield.
“It’s extremely heartbreaking to have to watch and go through knowing it’s one person you can’t bring back,” the relative said.
Community leaders and family members are now calling on authorities to release body camera footage of the incident to determine which account of the events is true. A judge ruled on Wednesday that the family would be able to see the videos after they initially only got to see 20 seconds of the footage. It might take up to a month for the footage to become public evidence.
Police and District Attorney Andrew Womble maintained during Wednesday’s court hearing that officers opened fire during the April 21 incident after Brown’s car came in contact with police cruisers. This refutes claims made by Brown’s family as authorities state his following move was to once again ram the car into police vehicles.
“The next movement of the car is forward,” Womble said. “It is in direction of law enforcement and makes contact with law enforcement. It is then and only then that you hear shots.”
The Pasquotank County sheriff said on Thursday that the additional four officers who were at the scene but did not use their weapons—Lt. Steven Judd, Sgt. Michael Swindell, Sgt. Kenneth Bishop, and Sgt. Joel Lunsford—have been reinstated to active duty. Sheriff Tommy Wooten said the decision came after carefully reviewing the body camera footage.
“It’s obvious that four of the deputies never fired their weapons and deserve to be reinstated to active duty,” he said. “More investigation is necessary into the three deputies who did fire their weapons and they will remain on administrative leave.”
Investigator Daniel Meads, Deputy Sheriff II Robert Morgan, and Cpl. Aaron Lewellyn are still on leave.
There needs to be an independent investigation to get all the facts.