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Judge denies request to release body camera footage of fatal police-shooting of Andrew Brown Jr.

Law enforcement - Crowd

A judge denied the request of a North Carolina county sheriff and multiple media outlets to release the body camera footage of the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr.

According to ABC News, after hearing the arguments for and against releasing the videos, Pasquotank County Superior Court Judge Jeff Foster issued his ruling denying the release of the videos to the public. The local district attorney requested the videos not be released as it could jeopardize the ongoing investigation by the North Carolina Bureau of Investigation into the events of April 21 regarding the shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. While Judge Foster ruled that the videos cannot be released to the public, he did decide that Brown’s family could view the footage.

The family will be allowed to see the videos after the investigators finish their examination, to which the judge granted at least 30 days. Included in Judge Foster’s requirements for the family to view the footage is that faces, nametags, and other identifying features be blurred out for the privacy of those in the videos. Judge Foster’s ruling is a response to the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. which occurred on April 21. According to the New York Times, law enforcement officers were trying to execute a drug related search and arrest warrant on Andrew Brown Jr. While they attempted to execute the warrant, his car made contact with law enforcement twice, which then led to shots being fired (WSOC-TV).

A variety of reactions has come from Judge Foster’s denial of the footage being released. According to Blue Ridge Public Radio, lawyer Harry Daniels, a member of the Brown family’s legal team, said, “show us the tape and we’ll determine what’s justified and what’s not justified. Right now it is on their hands, it is on the hands of the Pasquotank County government. Show the tape.” However, another family lawyer, Wayne Kendall, did acknowledge the ruling as a partial victory. Many civil rights activists and leaders have expressed their disappointment and anger with the footage not being released to the public (WIS NEWS).

However, Judge Foster defended his ruling by saying that “the release may harm the reputation or jeopardize the safety of a person. The release would create a serious threat to the fair, impartial and orderly administration of justice.” The media attention and discussion of this event is certainly not over. The FBI Charlotte Field Office has opened a civil rights investigation into the death of Brown, and the North Carolina Governor has called for a special prosecutor for this case. This case adds to the national discussion on proper policing methods and calls for reform. 

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ARTICLE: KATE SCHLESSELMAN 

POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: REUTERS

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