Killing of Andrew Brown Jr.

police homicide in Elizabeth City, North Carolina

On April 21, 2021, Andrew Brown Jr., a 42-year-old African American man, was shot dead in the back of the head by a deputy sheriff in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.[2][3] Seven officers were placed on leave as a result of the shooting.[4][5] Brown died one day after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the death of George Floyd,[6] and his death happened near the time of other notable police killings including the deaths of Daunte Wright, Ma'Khia Bryant, and Adam Toledo in the United States.[7]

Killing of Andrew Brown Jr.
Part of 2020–2021 United States racial unrest
Location of the incident in Elizabeth City.
DateApril 21, 2021 (2021-04-21)
Time8:30 a.m. EDT[1]
LocationElizabeth City, North Carolina, United States
DeathsAndrew Brown Jr.
Shooting under investigation



Brown had two outstanding warrants in Dare County "on drug-related charges including possession with intent to sell cocaine."[8]



Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten II said that "deputies from his department including a tactical team were attempting to perform search and arrest warrants on illegal distribution of cocaine, methamphetamine, crack cocaine and heroin when Brown was shot."[8][9] Brown's death certificate states that Brown died from being shot in the head.[3]



Seven sheriff's deputies were placed on administrative leave as a result of the shooting.[3] Within a week of the killing, two other deputies resigned and one other deputy retired; this was not related to the killing, stated a member of the Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office.[10]

Elizabeth City declared a state of emergency in preparation of the release of the body cam footage to the public.[3] Pasquotank County Attorney Michael Cox said faces in the video were being blurred.[3] On the sixth day of marches in the city, protesters shut down the bridge over the Pasquotank River between Elizabeth City and Camden County. An hour later, the bridge was reopened to traffic.[11] Elizabeth City mayor, Bettie Parker, declared a state of emergency before the full release of the body cam footage that led up to the shooting.[12]

On April 26, Brown's family and their lawyers were allowed by Pasquotank County to watch a short bodycam video of the shooting.[3] Family lawyer Chantel Cherry-Lassiter said that the video of 20 seconds showed the deputies shooting at Brown when he sat in his vehicle with his hands on the steering wheel.[3] Cherry-Lassiter said Brown then drove away, while the deputies continued shooting at him, with Brown ultimately crashing the vehicle into a nearby tree.[3] Cherry-Lassiter also said the deputies continued shooting after the crash.[13]

The FBI announced on April 27 that it would be launching a civil rights probe into Brown's death.[14] An agency spokesman stated, "Agents will work closely with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina and the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice to determine whether federal laws were violated."[15]



White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated "Obviously, the loss of life is a tragedy and obviously we're thinking of the family members and the community" and that President Biden was aware of the situation.[8] North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, as well as the family of Brown, immediately called for the bodycam footage to be released.[4][16] People protested an emergency meeting of the Elizabeth City council with signs reading Black Lives Matter and Stop killing unarmed Black Men.[17]

On Twitter, North Carolina governor Roy Cooper wrote, "Initial reports of the shooting in Elizabeth City and death of Andrew Brown, Jr. this week are tragic and extremely concerning. The body camera footage should be made public as quickly as possible and the SBI should investigate thoroughly to ensure accountability."[18]


  1. "Man killed by NC deputy identified". WMBF. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  2. Helmore, Edward (April 24, 2021). "Andrew Brown shooting: seven North Carolina deputies placed on leave". The Guardian.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Chen, Natasha; Lemos, Gregory; Levenson, Eric (April 26, 2021). "Attorney for Andrew Brown Jr.'s family says video of fatal police shooting shows 'execution'". CNN. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Dispatch audio from emergency responders says Andrew Brown Jr. was shot in the back". CNN. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  5. Levenson, Michael. "7 Deputies Placed on Leave After Fatal Shooting of Black Man in North Carolina". The New York Times. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  6. Chappell, Bill. "Elizabeth City, N.C., Declares Emergency Before Release Of Bodycam Video Of Shooting". NPR. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  7. Blanford, Andrea. "'Say his name': Vigil held in downtown Raleigh honors victims of recent deadly police shootings". ABC11. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "7 deputies on leave after fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr.; Calls grow to release bodycam footage". CBS News. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  9. "Vdeo showed Andrew Brown Jr. with hands on wheel before N.C. deputies shot him, family says". NBC News. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  10. Levenson, Michael (April 23, 2021). "7 Deputies Placed on Leave After Fatal Shooting of Black Man in North Carolina". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 24, 2021. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  11. "Protesters temporarily shut down bridge in Elizabeth City following death of Andrew Brown Jr., man killed by law enforcement". April 26, 2021. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  12. Bacon, John. "'What is on the video that is so damning?' Andrew Brown Jr. family waiting as body-cam footage redacted; state of emergency declared". USA TODAY. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  13. Hutchinson, Bill (April 27, 2021). "Andrew Brown's son says 20-second bodycam video shows his father being 'executed'". ABC News. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  14. McEvoy, Jemima. "FBI Opens Investigation Into Andrew Brown Jr. Shooting As Autopsy Reveals He Died From Gunshot To The Back Of The Head". Forbes. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  15. Higgins, Tucker. "FBI opens civil rights probe into killing of Andrew Brown Jr. in North Carolina". CNBC. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  16. Deliso, Meredith. "Family, lawyers call for release of bodycam footage of fatal police shooting of Andrew Brown". ABC News. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  17. Robertson, Gary D.; Lavoie, Denise (April 22, 2021). "North Carolina sheriff's deputy fatally shoots Black man while serving warrant". ABC13 Houston. Associated Press. Archived from the original on April 29, 2021. Retrieved May 7, 2021.
  18. Cooper, Roy. "Statement by Roy Cooper". Roy Cooper on Twitter. Retrieved April 27, 2021.