NORTH Carolina has declared a state of emergency ahead of the release of bodycam footage of a black man’s death.
Officials announced the state was going into a state of emergency ahead of the possible public release of cop footage of the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr.
The dad-of-ten was fatally shot during a drug-related warrant executed by the sheriff’s deputies last week.
Brown was confronted by a Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office deputy attempting to serve him a warrant at around 8.30am on Wednesday.
The deputy fired a gun while the 40-year-old man was allegedly driving away from his Elizabeth City, North Carolina home.
Witnesses at the time reported hearing six to eight shots ring out when the deputy pulled the fateful trigger.
Since the April 21 shooting, authorities have provided limited information regarding the circumstances under which Brown was killed.
Protests demanding transparency have persisted in Elizabeth City, where the shooting occurred.
According to Fox News reports, Brown’s family and their attorneys would privately be shown the footage at the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office at 11:30 a.m on Monday.
High-profile civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who secured the $27 million civil lawsuit in Minneapolis for the family of George Floyd, would be present, as would attorneys Harry Daniels, Bakari Sellers and Brown's relatives.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools would be operating on a full remote schedule for all students and staff throughout the week, "due to the continuously evolving state of civil unrest in our local community and under the advisement [sic] of our local law enforcement partners."
A statement posted to the schools’ Facebook page said schools would “share additional information regarding the remote learning schedule with families”.
“We appreciate your support and understanding during this time,” it said.
It was not yet clear when the body camera footage would be released publicly.
In a recorded video statement released on Saturday, Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten II said he would file a motion in court to ask a local judge to allow its release as early as Monday.
Wooten added that he would first check with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation – which is probing the fatal shooting, to ensure the release of the video would not hamper their efforts.
"Only a judge can release the video,” he said. “That's why I've asked the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation to confirm for me that the releasing of the video will not undermine their investigation.”
"Once I get that confirmation, our county will file a motion in court, hopefully Monday, to have the footage released."
Wooten’s statement came on the back of growing pressure on officers to release the footage publicly. A family attorney, local clergy and civil rights leaders, including the Rev. William Barber II, who leads the Poor People's Campaign, held a news conference to demand that the footage be released.
"America, here is the issue: A warrant is not a license to kill, even if a suspect supposedly drives away," Barber said at the news conference.
"A warrant is not permission to shoot someone."
Wooten’s resignation has been demanded by Pasquotank County NAACP President Keith Rivers.
Under North Carolina Law, a judge generally has to sign off on the release of police body camera footage.
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