North Carolina town prepares for riots in wake of police shooting

Community leaders fear that the release of the footage will spark unrest in the municipality of some 18,000 people.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A town in North Carolina is gearing up for riots in the wake of the anticipated public release of police bodycam footage from the fatal shooting of a black man last week.

Police officers in Elizabeth City, N.C. shot Andrew Brown Jr. during the execution of a drug warrant on April 21. In a laconic statement, law enforcement alluded to Brown’s criminal history, stretching back to the 1990s, and said multiple deputies fired shots during the incident.

Brown’s family and their representatives will watch the police bodycam footage of the shooting on Monday morning at the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office

Ben Crump, the attorney who won George Floyd’s family a $27 million wrongful death settlement, has been retained by Brown’s family and is set to view the footage.

In North Carolina, police bodycam footage can only be released after a judge’s approval. Community leaders fear that the release of the footage will spark unrest in the municipality of some 18,000 people.

In a statement on Sunday, the local school district announced the suspension of in-person classes “due to the continuously evolving state of civil unrest in our local community and under the advisement of our local law enforcement partners.”

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“Schools will share additional information regarding the remote learning schedule with families,” the Facebook statement posted by Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools. “We appreciate your support and understanding during this time.”

Local leaders, including the Rev. William Barber II, head of the Poor People’s Campaign, held a news conference last week demanding the immediate release of the footage.

“America, here is the issue: A warrant is not a license to kill, even if a suspect supposedly drives away,” Barber said. “A warrant is not permission to shoot someone.”

The New York Post reported that seven officers involved in the incident were placed on leave.

The sole witness to the shooting who’s spoken publicly, Demetria Williams, told the media that she saw Brown drive away from his home and that multiple officers fired at the back of his vehicle.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.