Seven North Carolina sheriff’s deputies are on paid administrative leave following the fatal shooting of a Black man as they were serving search and arrest warrants, a department official said Friday.
Andrew Brown Jr., 42, was fatally shot Wednesday morning after Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies went to serve a warrant in a residential neighborhood in Elizabeth City, Sheriff Tommy S. Wooten said this week, adding that his deputies fired the shots.
The arrest warrant “surrounded felony drug charges,” sheriff’s Chief Deputy Daniel Fogg said in a video statement Thursday.
The shooting was followed by protests and calls to release body-camera video. Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday tweeted that initial reports about Brown’s death were “tragic and extremely concerning,” and he said the video should be made public as soon as possible.
Wooten has pledged to be transparent and said he asked the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation to conduct the investigation.
He said body-camera video showing deputies attempting to arrest Brown cannot be released without a judge’s order because it’s in the the hands of investigators.
District Attorney Andrew Womble and County Attorney R. Michael Cox confirmed that Thursday but said state law does does allow for Brown’s family to view it, and they were working to arrange that.
A SWAT-style team tried to serve the warrants, Fogg said Thursday, adding that Brown was a convicted felon with a history of resisting arrest, which meant the procedure was considered to have a higher risk than others.
Nearby Dare County had issued two arrest warrants for Brown on drug-related charges, including possession with intent to sell cocaine, The Associated Press reported. Brown had a criminal history dating to the 1990s, including past drug convictions.
Elizabeth City is about 35 miles south of Norfolk, Virginia.