Lawyers claim police killed black man with kill shot to back of head

Lawyers claim police killed black man with kill shot to back of head

ELIZABETH CITY, North Carolina--Lawyers for the family of Andrew Brown Jr., a Black man killed by law enforcement last week in North Carolina, said an independent autopsy showed he died from a "kill shot" to the back of his head, as the FBI on Tuesday opened a civil rights probe of the shooting.


Governor Roy Cooper later called for appointment of a special prosecutor to take over the state's investigation of last Wednesday's shooting.
Brown, 42, was struck with four bullets to his right arm before the fatal shot penetrated the rear of his skull as he tried to drive away, the lawyers for his family told a news conference in Elizabeth City, a riverfront community near the Virginia border where the shooting took place.
Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten has said his deputies were trying to serve Brown with search and arrest warrants stemming from a felony drug charge and that the incident was over in fewer than 30 seconds.
He has urged the public to reserve judgment until all evidence is reviewed by the State Bureau of Investigation, which opened an inquiry on the shooting at Wooten's request. Seven sheriff's deputies involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave, Wooten's office said last week.
An official autopsy has yet to be released, though the death certificate had indicated Brown died of a gunshot to the head. "It was a 'kill' shot to the back of the head," said attorney Ben Crump, citing the private autopsy conducted by Brent Hall, a former medical examiner in Boone, North Carolina. "It went into the base of the neck, bottom of the skull and got lost in his brain. That was the cause of death."
Shortly after the news conference, the FBI's Charlotte Field Office announced that it has opened a federal civil rights investigation, saying in a statement it would work with federal prosecutors in the U.S. Department of Justice to "determine whether federal laws were violated."
Brown's death has led to six nights of protests in Elizabeth City and came one day after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd in a trial that put a spotlight on police violence against Black people. There were signs of lingering tension on a hot, sunny Tuesday afternoon in Elizabeth City, where about 20 demonstrators blocked off an intersection near the Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office, forcing motorists to take a detour.
One driver, a middle-aged white man, was seen taking a gun off the dashboard of his pickup truck after approaching protesters and complaining about the blockage, according to Reosha Christian, a 35-year-old city resident taking part in the demonstration. Christian, who said the man never pointed his weapon and pulled away after he was confronted by law enforcement officers, expressed hopes that protests would lead to greater transparency over the shooting, including naming the officers involved.