Judge files order for release of bodycam footage to Andrew Brown’s family; sheriff says they’ll view video Tuesday

U.S. and World

PASQUOTANK COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) — The judge who ruled last week to delay the public release of bodycam footage in the Andrew Brown Jr. case has filed the order for release of footage to Brown’s family, nine days after his original ruling.

“We want to know exactly what happened to my nephew,” said Brown’s aunt, Glenda Brown-Thomas.

It’s unclear what caused the delay in the May 6 filing by Judge Jeffrey Foster, a visiting judge from Pitt County, but the timing could mean the family might not see the footage for another 10 days.

Brown’s family had anticipated seeing the footage by Saturday, however, the sheriff said in a statement Friday that the family would be shown the footage Tuesday.

“We’ve carefully read the order from the judge and we will certainly comply with it. Because we’re continuing to be as transparent as we can under state law, we will be allowing the family members identified in the Judge’s order to view the specified videos much sooner than the judge’s deadline requires. We’ve been communicating with the family through their attorney and we’ve agreed to their suggestion to view the videos on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. The time and location will be arranged with the family’s attorney.”

Pasquotank Sheriff Tommy Wooten

Foster’s orders say only Brown’s immediate family and one lawyer can view the footage, and they cannot record it for dissemination.

The family has seen one 20-second clip from one bodycam footage in the wake of Brown’s killing by Pasquotank deputies.

“Twenty seconds is not enough,” Brown-Thomas added. “We want to see the whole video.”

They’ve called Brown’s death an “execution,” and an independent autopsy showed he was fatally shot in the back of the head.

The family is expected to see only about 19 minutes of roughly two hours of footage taken from body cameras and a dashcam, and Foster’s ruling has several requirements for what can be seen, including the blurring of deputies’ faces. That ruling came before Pasquotank Sheriff Tommy Wooten named all of the deputies involved in the raid. Three who fired their weapons are still on administrative leave.

“We want to know, we need to know and we deserve to know what happened to him. Stop trying to hide something,” Brown-Thomas added. “That’s not transparency. If you want to show transparency, show the whole video.”

On April 28, Foster blocked the public release of the footage for at least 30 days as authorities continue their investigation. The FBI has also started its own probe into Brown’s death.

Meanwhile on Thursday night, Pasquotank commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Thursday that calls on the North Carolina General Assembly to change the state law that regulates who gets to see video taken on law enforcement body cameras.

Currently, only a judge can release the video to the masses. The county resolution reads the law needs to be changed “to ensure transparency for the public.”

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