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No Charges in Death of Andrew Brown in North Carolina

Prosecutor calls deputies' actions justified
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2021 1:18 PM CDT

(Newser) – "No officers will be criminally charged," a North Carolina district attorney announced Tuesday in the case of Andrew Brown Jr., who was shot to death by sheriff's deputies who had gone to his home to arrest him. "The officers' actions were consistent with their training and fully supported under law." Andrew Womble called the death of Brown, a 42-year-old Black man, tragic, NBC reports, but said it was "justified due to his actions." Brown was shot five times at the wheel of his car last month in Elizabeth City; deputies had a warrant for his arrest on felony drug charges. Womble said Tuesday that Brown backed his car up to move away from the officers, hitting one of them, then drove forward toward two others. Deputies then began shooting, he said, per the Wall Street Journal.

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Because the deputies thought the vehicle was in effect being used as a deadly weapon against them, shooting was legal, Womble said. During a press conference, he played body camera video that he said showed deputies didn't shoot until Brown tried to get away. But a family attorney maintains that Pasquotank County deputies shot at Brown first, causing him to try to drive away. The Rev. Al Sharpton called Womble's explanation "bizarre and unconvincing" on Tuesday, per the BBC. He said the case should go to the federal level and a special prosecutor. Protests of police violence followed Brown's death, and the FBI has launched a civil rights investigation. Brown's family has called for Womble to recuse himself in the case over conflicts involving his office and the sheriff's department, per CNN. (Read more Andrew Brown stories.)

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