No charges filed against police officers who shot a black motorist, according to Andrew Brown.
The officers involved in the fatal shooting of a black motorist in North Carolina during an attempted arrest will face no criminal charges.
The District Attorney for Elizabeth City told reporters that the police shooting of Andrew Brown, 42, was “justified.”
Mr Brown allegedly drove his car at officers during the 44-second encounter.
Mr Brown’s family disputes the authorities’ account, claiming that he was “executed.” He was shot five times, including in the back, according to an independent investigation.
His death on 21 April sparked protests against police brutality and comes at a time when the use of lethal force against African-Americans is under increased scrutiny.
What did the prosecutor say?
District Attorney Andrew Womble stated during a news conference on Tuesday that Mr Brown “posed an immediate threat to the officers’ safety” when he disobeyed commands and attempted to evade arrest by using his car as a “deadly weapon.”
“I believe the facts of this case demonstrate unequivocally that the officers who used deadly force against Andrew Brown Jr. acted reasonably and only when a violent felon used a deadly weapon to endanger their lives,” he said.
“The Constitution expressly prohibits police officers from gambling with their lives in the face of a grave threat of harm.”
Mr Brown was served with felony and search warrants, he added, and “they could not simply let him go as has been suggested.”
Additionally, the district attorney noted that none of the deputies involved in the incident had ever been charged with excessive force.
When questioned about Mr Brown’s intentions, Mr Womble stated that despite his belief that Mr Brown was merely fleeing, “he had no choice but to drive at the officers.”
“By doing so, and by making that decision on his own, he jeopardized their lives.”
Mr Womble stated that he held Tuesday’s briefing to ensure transparency, given the case’s high profile. He defended his decision to withhold information earlier, claiming that it was a normal part of the legal process.
Mr Womble said no officers were injured in the incident, which occurred outside Mr Brown’s Elizabeth City home. He noted that one of the 14 shots fired at the vehicle appeared to have ricocheted and was discovered in a nearby house.
Mr Womble indicated to reporters that he had not spoken with Mr Brown’s family prior to the news conference. He stated that communication with the family and their counsel was hampered by “barriers.”
“In all honesty, we could have done a better job prior to this to mend that relationship,” he admitted. “It’s unfortunate, and I’m not pleased with how it transpired.”
What has the family communicated?
Mr Brown’s family has denied, after reviewing some of the police footage from the shooting at the end of April, that he was driving toward police when he was shot.
Mr Brown’s son, Khalil Ferebee, stated shortly after viewing the footage, “I saw him executed.” “It’s obvious he was attempting to flee.”
“Andrew’s hands were on the steering wheel. He made no attempt to reach for anything. He was not in contact with anything “Chantel Cherry-Lassiter, another family attorney, told reporters.
Ben Crump, one of the family’s attorneys, stated during a news conference that “it was a kill shot to the back of the head.” Mr Crump has also defended other families in high-profile police shootings of African-Americans, including George Floyd’s relatives.
Following Tuesday’s briefing, Rev Al Sharpton, the civil rights leader, described Mr Womble’s defense as “bizarre and unconvincing,” and suggested that federal officials and a special prosecutor should take over the case.
The FBI announced last month that it had initiated a civil rights investigation into the incident in order to “determine whether federal laws were violated.”