An independent autopsy organized by the family of Andrew Brown Jr. found that he was shot five times by police: four times in his right arm and a fatal shot to the back of his head.
“It was a kill shot to the back of the head,” said attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Brown’s family, in a press conference Tuesday morning.
Brown was shot and killed in his car outside his home in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, as deputies from the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office attempted to execute a search warrant on April 21. The Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office didn’t immediately return a request for comment on the autopsy report.
His family viewed 20 seconds of bodycam footage of his death for the first time Monday, which they said showed officers shooting at Brown at least 27 times as he sat in his car and then tried to drive away, before he lost control of the vehicle moments later and crashed into a tree.
Wayne Kendall, one of the attorneys for Brown, said the independent autopsy revealed that Brown was shot in the right arm four times, but that he was able to continue driving as they were “glancing shots, they were not fatal shots.”
“As these shots were coming into the vehicle, he was able to back up, turn the vehicle around, spin off across a vacant lot and at that time he was hit at the back of the head,” said Kendall. “And that is the fatal bullet wound that is described in the death certificate as ‘a penetrating wound to the skull’ and that was the cause of death.”
Protests have been taking place nightly in Elizabeth City since Brown’s death, as part of a global movement to protest police brutality and killings of Black people. During the press conference on Tuesday, members of the crowd yelled out in frustration at the news of how Brown had been killed. “Arrest him right now,” one woman screamed repeatedly.
“An execution, that’s what took place,” said Brown’s attorney Harry Daniels. “The law enforcement in this country cannot be judge, jury and executioner.”
The family’s lawyers said the video clearly shows Brown complying with orders and not threatening officers when he was killed. The body cam footage has not yet been made public but it is expected to be released Wednesday following a court hearing.
“Yesterday I said he was executed. This autopsy report showed me I was correct,” said Khalil Ferebee, one of Brown’s children, on Tuesday. “It’s obvious he was trying to get away. It’s obvious. And they’re going to shoot him in the back of the head? Man, that shit’s not right.”