Andrew Brown Jr. funeral: Family gathering for service of black man killed by cops as Rev. Al Sharpton to give eulogy

MOURNERS will gather in Elizabeth City today ahead of Andrew Brown's funeral less than two weeks after his police custody death.

Social justice activist Rev Al Sharpton will give the eulogy for Brown, 42, on Monday, who was shot and killed by police in Elizabeth City, North Carolina on April 21 in his driveway.

  • Read our Andrew Brown Jr. live blog for the latest updates

Deputies had been serving drug-related search and arrest warrants at the time of the shooting, which prompted a wave of protests and civil unrest as community members demand the bodycam footage of his death is released.

Cries of "release the tapes!" could be heard on the streets of Elizabeth City this past weekend in the days leading up to the memorial service, which will begin at 12pm today.

The invite-only funeral comes after two viewings on Sunday night, which included a public service at the Museum of the Albemarle, while his grieving family also joined a march in Brown's name.

A procession will kick off today at Waterfront Park at 10:45am with a horse-drawn carriage to Fountain of Life Church, where Sharpton will head up the tributes after recently giving Daunte Wright's eulogy.

The funeral comes as:

  • Three deputies remain on administrative leave
  • Lawyers claim Brown hit cops with his car
  • Calls mount of police to release the bodycam footage despite ruling
  • Brown's death described as an 'execution' by his family
  • Relatives outraged after viewing 20-seconds of the video

“I would want to get across that this is a human being. And for us, it’s part of a continual abuse of police power,” Sharpton told the Associated Press.

Rev William J. Barber II, who is also going to address attendees, told MSNBC that "we are in mourning but we are also in a movement" ahead of the service.

The Elizabeth City mayor has imposed a nightly curfew and declared a state of emergency, while the sheriff has pleaded with people to remain peaceful on the streets and delays are expected.

Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten said in a statement Sunday asked everyone to "respect the hardworking families in Pasquotank County who run small businesses and employ so many in our community."

"We hope protests this weekend are peaceful; however, we are prepared to ensure the safety of our community in the event of unlawful disruptions," Wooten said.

"We all want answers about the death of Andrew Brown Jr. However, we must wait for the investigations to be completed so we have the facts."

Four out of the seven deputies involved in the deadly warrant-serving confrontation with Brown Jr are back on active duty and were named as Lt Steve Judd, Sgt Michael Swindell, Sgt Kendall Bishop, and Sgt Joel Lunsford.

Investigator Daniel Meads, Deputy Sheriff II Robert Morgan, and Corp Aaron Lewellyn, who did fire, will remain on leave until the North Carolina Bureau of Investigation completes its work.

Although the bodycam footage of the fatal incident has not yet been released by police, family members of Brown have called his death an "execution."

However, a judge ruled that the footage will not be released to the public for at least 30 to 45 days while an investigation is underway.

Attorneys for the Brown family said they were "deeply disappointed" by the decision" adding that "video evidence is the key to discerning the truth."

After his death, protests erupted in the wake of Derek Chauvin's conviction for the murder of George Floyd last year and the FBI confirmed that Brown's police shooting death will be investigated.

Meanwhile, here’s also been mounting questions as to why a judge refused to release the bodycam footage of the deadly confrontation. 

Wooten stated he was “disappointed” the footage wouldn’t be released to the public but noted: “Obviously, I’ll respect the judge’s ruling.”

Brown's family called his death an "execution" after authorities showed them 20-seconds worth of bodycam footage from the incident.

An independent autopsy was performed on April 25 by a pathologist hired by his family which suggested the 42-year-old was hit five times by deputies’ slugs.

He was hit four times in the arm, and once — in what civil rights attorney Ben Crump called the alleged fatal "kill shot" — to the head.

Elizabeth City District Attorney Andrew Womble characterized sheriff’s deputies trying to encircle Brown's car, according to Reuters.

The prosecutor said Brown allegedly tried reversing multiple times when one deputy attempted to open a car door as fellow officers commanded Brown to stay put. 

Womble contended that deputies turned to lethal force when Brown allegedly rolled his car forward and made "contact" with them, Reuters reported.

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