A funeral service will be held in North Carolina Monday for Andrew Brown Jr., the 42-year-old Black man who was killed by deputies serving drug-related search and arrest warrants on April 21.
Brown’s death sparked over a week of protests that have continued even as a judge delayed the public release of body camera footage of the fatal shooting for at least 30 days.
A private funeral ceremony will begin at noon ET Monday at the Fountain of Life Church in Elizabeth City. The event is invitation only but will be livestreamed by Horton’s Funeral Home.
Rev. Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy. Other speakers will include Brown’s relatives, prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who’s representing Brown’s family, and Rev. William Barber II, leader of the Poor People’s Campaign.
“I would want to get across that this is a human being. And for us, it’s part of a continual abuse of police power,” Sharpton told the Associated Press about his plans for Brown’s eulogy.
Family and friends had their first opportunity to pay their respects Sunday morning as Brown’s body lay in state at Horton’s Funeral Home and Cremations Chapel in Hertford. About 80 people had streamed in to sign the guest registrar and briefly stand by the open casket.
Brown’s chrome casket was loaded into a Cadillac hearse and transported to The Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City, where at least 300 people came to pay their respects that afternoon.
Sharpton recently delivered the eulogy for Daunte Wright, who was fatally shot by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. His death sparked nights of unrest amid the nearby trial for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was later convicted in the murder and manslaughter of George Floyd.
Rev. Greg Drumwright, a pastor from Greensboro, organized buses to bring people into Elizabeth City on Sunday, the Raleigh News & Observer reported. Protesters marched peacefully during the afternoon, ending at Brown’s home on Perry Street, where the deputy-involved shooting took place, WAVY-TV reported. A mural of Brown is now spray painted on the side of the residence. There were two press briefings organized Sunday by Brown’s children and local faith and city leaders.
— Jon Dowding (@JonDowding) May 2, 2021
Elizabeth City officials on Friday pushed back a curfew by several hours each night after a week of generally peaceful protests. Starting Friday night, the curfew will run from midnight until 6 a.m. It took effect at 8 p.m. on previous nights.
Last week, Superior Court Judge Jeffery Foster ruled all body camera footage of the April 21 fatal deputy-involved shooting of Brown will be delayed for public release for at least 30 days to allow North Carolina’s State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) to move forward with their probe.
Pasquotank County Attorney R. Michael Cox had filed a petition on behalf of Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten II for the release of the footage. Four of the seven deputies placed on administrative leave following the fatal shooting of Brown were reinstated Thursday after body-camera footage revealed they did not fire their weapons, Wooten announced. Three remain on leave.
The attorneys representing Brown’s family and a district attorney in North Carolina have contradicted each other’s accounts of what took place on the body camera footage of the incident.
District Attorney Andrew Womble said in court that Brown’s car “made contact” with sheriff’s deputies twice before law enforcement opened fire. He called comments made by Brown family attorney Chantel Cherry-Lassiter at an earlier press conference “patently false.”
Cherry-Lassiter, who was part of a group privately shown a clip of body camera footage, argued it depicted “an execution” and claimed that Brown had his hands on the steering wheel and was not threatening deputies as he was fired upon.
An independent autopsy commissioned by attorneys representing Brown’s family showed Brown was shot four times in the right arm, and a fifth time fatally in the back of the head.