Civil rights leaders called for the resignation of Sheriff Tommy Wooten in North Carolina’s Pasquotank County Saturday after deputies from his office shot and killed Andrew Brown Jr. while serving warrants at the man’s home Wednesday.
Keith Rivers, the president of the Pasquotank County Chapter of the NAACP, held a press conference Saturday criticizing Wooten for failing to release body camera footage of the shooting, the Raleigh News & Observer reported.
“The district attorney and the sheriff are elected and they have an obligation to us to let us see what is on those tapes,” Rivers said. “You have an obligation to this family. Let them know.”
Brown’s family said they met with Wooten’s office Friday but were not shown the body camera footage of his death, CNN reported.
Rev. William Barber II, North Carolina NAACP President Rev. Anthony T. Spearman and Harry Daniels, an attorney for Brown’s family, joined Rivers in demanding Wooten’s resignation and calling for the release of body camera footage.
Civil rights leaders are also asking that the state’s public records laws be loosened to make it easier to obtain such footage in the future.
They join North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and several leaders in Elizabeth City in calling for footage of the shooting, which happened Wednesday, to be released.
The Pasquotank Sheriff’s Office posted a video to social media Saturday saying the office does not have the authority to release the body camera footage, and that it has asked the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation to determine whether the footage.
Media outlets have also joined forced to petition the court in Pasquotank to release the video, according to WAVY TV 10, which said it is part of the coalition.
Once that happens, Wooten said his office can file a court motion to release the footage.
Pasquotank Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Daniel Fogg said the office has also asked the N.C. Sheriff’s Association to appoint an outside sheriff’s office to investigate the shooting.
“We know people want answers. We know you’re angry. We understand and respect that, but we’re following a process that protects the investigation to ensure fairness for all,” Wooten said in the video.
As of Friday three Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies had resigned and another seven had been put on leave after the shooting Wednesday.
Brown was Black, and his death comes amid sustained protests and national dialogue over racism, police brutality and police accountability.
Local media reported that protesters began to gather in Elizabeth City, where Brown lived, Saturday night after the press conference.
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