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Burial of Andrew Brown Jr.: Circumstances surrounding 42-year-old’s death remain unclear

“He was a caring person and everything he did was for his children,” Brown’s son Khalil Fereby told CNN last week. “He really loved us all. It’s sad that my babies, my baby sisters now had to grow up without him.”

Brown’s funeral will be held at the Fountain of Life Church in Elizabeth City, said Benjamin Crump, a civil rights lawyer and attorney for the Brown family. Brown and Crump’s family members are expected to speak, along with the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights leader who will deliver the praise.
Family members George Floyd and Eric Garner, other black men killed in meetings with law enforcement, are expected to attend, Crump said.

The protests continued on Sunday with a demonstration of criminal justice reform in honor of Brown. Brown’s family, community leaders and activists marched through Elizabeth City, chanting his name and holding flags reading “Black Lives Matter.”

A photo of Andrew Brown Jr. appears on screen as Edwin Newby and Ella Newby pay their respects to him while watching at Horton's Chapel and Cremation Chapel on May 2, 2021 in Hertford, North Carolina.

Authorities have released little details about what led to the April 21 shooting, when Brown was fatally shot by Pasquatank County lawmakers trying to carry out an order. An independent autopsy, commissioned by Brown’s family and their lawyers, said Brown received five gunshot wounds – four in his right arm and one in the back of his head.

State law requires a court order to release footage from body cameras. Last Wednesday, a North Carolina judge ruled that Brown’s family would be allowed to see footage from the shooting, but the videos would not be made public for 30 days.

Earlier in the week, Brown’s family was able to see a short snippet of footage about 20 seconds long, which a family lawyer said depicted an “execution.”

“Release the tapes,” participants chanted on Sunday. “The whole tapes. The real tapes.”

“20 seconds!”

“Not enough!”

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Only two family members, including Fereby, were able to see the footage along with legal representatives, Harry Daniels, one of the family’s lawyers told CNN on Sunday.

“I just don’t understand what they’re trying to achieve,” Lily Brown Clark, Brown’s aunt, told CNN. “What’s the point of video and taxpayers paying for cameras if they can’t see each other?”

Jadin Hampton, Brown’s cousin, told CNN that although the family is grieving, they cannot stop demanding justice.

Protesters call for justice for the march of Andrew Brown Jr. on May 2, 2021 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

“I think we’re grieving, but we’re doing what we have to do,” she said. “Because the way things happened, we have to be here, we have to support, we have to protest. We have a long way to go.”

“The first order is to release the tapes, the whole tapes, all of them, every corner, every camera that has been turned on,” Hampton said. “We need to see him.”

“It’s a pain”

The family and the district attorney have told various stories about what happened, with the latter saying in a court hearing last week that lawmakers fired when the car Brown was driving made contact with law enforcement. But the family and their lawyers said Brown was moving away to save his life.

The shooting is being investigated by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. The FBI has also opened a federal civil rights investigation into the shooting, according to the Charlotte’s field office.

“I want everyone to hear the pain in this community. The pain, the cries you all hear, the agony you all hear – it’s pain,” family lawyer Chantel Cherry-Lassiter told a news conference last Tuesday. “And a lot of the time, pain is interpreted as rebellion or whatever people want to interpret it. Call it what it is. It’s painful for this family. It’s painful for this community.”

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Brown’s funeral follows the services of at least two other blacks killed in meetings with law enforcement in recent weeks: Daunte Wright and Ma’Kia Bryant.

Speaking in praise, Sharpton will reiterate the role he played at Wright’s funeral, a black man who was fatally shot by a police officer last month in a Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center.
Brown’s funeral also comes just three days after one in Columbus, Ohio, for Ma’Kia, a black 16-year-old woman who was also shot by a police officer there.

“I’m tired,” Bacary Sellers, a Brown family lawyer, told a news conference last month.

“I’m tired of mourning and crying. I’m tired of watching the videos, then we protest, then we have a funeral,” he said. “Then we have another shooting. We are mourning, crying, protesting.”

CNN’s Nickel Terry Ellis, Natasha Chen, Eric Levenson and Gregory Lemos contributed to this report.

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