The family of Andrew Brown Jr. filed a lawsuit with the assistance of civil rights attorneys. The case which was filed argued that Brown’s death was “intentional and reckless disregard of his life” at the hands of deputies in front of his residence.
The civil rights attorneys announced that a federal lawsuit was filed against the sheriff and deputies of a North Carolina sheriff’s department. Deputies reportedly shot Andrew Brown Jr. in the back of the head while he tried to drive away from them.
The lawsuit against the deputies at the incident scene and the sheriff’s department seeks $30 million in damages. It also asks to release body camera footage and audio files from the night of the fatal incident, USA Today reports.
“For Black folk in this country, justice is a verb,” reportedly said family attorney Bakari Sellers at a press conference on Wednesday. “And this is that first step in action.”
Back in April, Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office deputies killed Brown in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. They came to his residence to serve an arrest warrant after suspicion of drug trafficking.
The deputies surrounded his car and discharged their firearms as Brown attempted to drive away. Brown drove away at a low speed because he feared for his life, according to his family.
According to the lawsuit, there was no information on file to suggest Brown had a history of violence against law enforcement or others. The lawsuit also includes Brown’s family account of the shooting, saying Brown was “unarmed and posing no threat to law enforcement or others.”
The lawsuit against the deputies and sheriff’s department claims wrongful death, battery, and assault. It also alleges Brown was killed by “unlawful and deadly force” due to the deputies’ “intentional and reckless disregard of his life and safety.”
Protests demanding clarity and police accountability took the streets of Elizabeth City for weeks after Brown’s death.
“Today will be 85 days since the people of Elizabeth City have stayed in the streets for justice,” Pasquotank NAACP President Keith Rivers said at the press conference Wednesday.
Andrew Womble, the District Attorney assigned to the state case, said in May the deputies involved in the shooting, Investigator Daniel Meads, Deputy Robert Morgan, and Cpl. Aaron Lewellyn were not in the wrong for their use of deadly force. “A state investigation found Brown endangered the deputies by using his vehicle as a deadly weapon,” he said. He found no justification to prosecute on a state level.