In July, the family of Andrew Brown Jr.—the unarmed Black man who was shot and killed in North Carolina by Pasquotank County deputies attempting to serve a drug warrant on April 21—filed a $30 million federal civil lawsuit seeking justice for his death. Recently, the family updated the lawsuit to include allegations that the district attorney is bending over backwards to protect the deputies involved in the shooting, and deputies at the scene knew Brown was likely not carrying a weapon when three officers made it rain bullets on Brown after he got in his car and attempted to drive away from them.
In May, District Attorney Andrew Womble said Brown’s death was “justified because Mr. Brown’s actions caused three deputies to reasonably believe it was necessary to use deadly force to protect themselves and others.”
Note: The language used by law enforcement officials, especially when dealing with Black suspects and victims, is always designed in a way that makes anyone but the cops the subjects of all the action verbs used in the statement. (The cops didn’t shoot a Black man; the Black man caused the cops to feel the need to shoot.)
But ABC 11 reported that, according to the family’s attorneys, the SBI investigative report cited in the lawsuit found that there were two high ranking Pasquotank County deputies who actually weren’t “caused” to feel the need to fire any shots at Brown because they had no reason to suspect he was armed, and that one of those officers said he didn’t feel threatened by Brown as he drove away. (Because why the hell would anyone feel threatened by someone moving away from them?)
According to the filing, the SBI report—which noted that Investigator Daniel Mead was the first officer to fire a shot and that Deputy Robert Morgan and Corp. Aaron Lewellyn fired their shots after—determined the bullet pulled from the back of Brown’s head came from Morgan’s AR-15 Bushmaster rifle. (If you’re wondering why deputies are out here armed with Kyle Rittenhouse guns in the first place and why they feel the need to go full Rambo: First Blood on a weaponless man driving in the opposite direction of them, don’t worry, you’re not crazy; you’re just not a “back the blue” groupie who thinks gang bangers with badges can do no wrong.)
The lawsuit claims that Mead understood that the number of bullets fired at Brown would probably make the shooters look bad (because…duh) so he admitted to the SBI that he altered his gun before turning it in as evidence—an admission that conveniently didn’t come until after he was caught doing it on police body camera footage.
According to ABC, a motion to dismiss the lawsuit was denied last week.