Elizabeth City, N.C. – A North Carolina sheriff said Thursday that he has put four deputies involved in the case of a Black man who was fatally shot last week back on active duty after a review of body camera video showed they did not fire their weapons.
Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten announced in a news release that he has restored to duty four out of the seven deputies who were placed on administrative leave after the shooting death of Andrew Brown Jr.
Wooten said the three deputies who fired their weapons will remain on leave until an investigation is completed.
“After reviewing the preliminary conclusions of the independent investigators conducting the internal review, and after carefully examining the body camera footage of the incident with my own staff, it’s obvious that four of the deputies never fired their weapons and deserve to be reinstated to active duty,” Wooten said.
Brown was shot April 21 by deputies serving drug-related search and arrest warrants at his house in the town of Elizabeth City, about 160 miles (260 kilometers) northeast of Raleigh. On Tuesday, Brown’s family released an independent autopsy showing he was shot five times, including in the back of the head. The state’s autopsy has not been released yet.
Brown family attorney Harry Daniels called the decision to reinstate the four deputies “unprofessional,” noting that the family has not been shown the video that Wooten says shows they did not fire their weapons.
“They’re reinstating deputies with no transparency,” Daniels said. “We think that’s inappropriate and should not be done.”
“We have to take their word for it – that’s not transparency,” he said.
“Unprofessional – at least show us the video so we can make the determination,” he added.
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