A black man shot dead by police during an arrest bid was ‘executed’ and officials are withholding evidence, his family’s lawyers have claimed.
Andrew Brown Jr was killed after he was shot by sheriff’s deputies in North Carolina during an attempted arrest last week.
Lawyers said the 42-year-old had his hands on the steering wheel of his car when multiple deputies began firing at him in his driveway in Elizabeth City.
In body camera footage the deputies were said to continue to shoot after Mr Brown drove his vehicle away from them.
Chantel Cherry-Lassiter, one of a team of lawyers for the family, told a news briefing on Monday. “Let’s be clear: This was an execution.”
She added that Mr Brown never presented a threat to the team of seven or eight officers at the scene.
“They were shooting and saying: ‘Let me see your hands!’ at the same time,” she said.
The shooting last Wednesday, a day after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd after a highly publicized trial, has so far led to small, peaceful protests in Elizabeth City.
The city had declared a state of emergency before showing the video to the family, anticipating that it could trigger unrest.
Sheriff Tommy Wooten and Chief Deputy Daniel Fogg said last week that the shooting occurred as deputies were trying to serve arrest and search warrants on Mr Brown from a drugs charge, and that he had a history of resisting arrest.
They asked the public on Monday to hold off judgment until all the evidence is considered.
“This tragic incident was quick and over in less than 30 seconds and body cameras are shaky and sometimes hard to decipher. They only tell part of the story,” Sheriff Wooten said in a video posted on social media.
Meanwhile, Ben Crump, another lawyer for the family, said there was evidence from at least nine cameras, including police body cam and dashcam videos, but that the victim’s lawyers were shown only a 20-second portion from a single body cam video.
“We do not feel we got transparency. We only saw a snippet of the video,” he said. “They were going to show the whole video, then decided at the last minute they were going to redact it.”
Pasquotank County Attorney Michael Cox released a statement earlier to answer why it was taking so long to release video evidence.
He said state law allowed officials to blur faces if needed to protect an active internal investigation, and the process took time.
The legal team for Mr Brown’s family said a court hearing was set for Wednesday on whether the body cam footage could be released to media organizations.
Seven sheriff’s deputies were placed on administrative leave after the shooting and three additional deputies had resigned, although the resignations were not related to the shooting.