ELIZABETH CITY, NC – The Pasquotank County Sheriff has released the names of three MPs who fired their guns in the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. last week and said they would remain on administrative leave pending further investigation.
Four other MPs who were put on leave after the shooting have returned to active duty, Sheriff Tommy Wooten said Thursday and also released their names.
Mr Brown, a 42-year-old black man, was shot and killed five times on April 21 by lawmakers as they attempted to serve drug-related search and arrest warrants, authorities said. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched a civil rights investigation into the shooting.
“After carefully reviewing the body camera footage of the incident with my own staff, it is evident that four of the deputies never fired their guns and deserve to be reinstated,” Sheriff Wooten said in a statement. Press release.
Sheriff Wooten said among those who fired their guns was Daniel “Ryan” Meads, who worked in drug investigations and who filed a warrant on April 20 calling for Mr Brown’s arrest. Mr Meads, who joined the forces in 2015, said he was seeking to arrest Mr Brown and search his home and cars after law enforcement organized and recorded the recent drug purchases from a crack, cocaine and methamphetamine informant, depending on the warrant.
Others on leave include Robert Morgan, an assistant who joined the office in 2016, and Aaron Lewellyn, a corporal who started in 2019, according to sheriff’s office records.
Mr Meads did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Attempts to reach Mr. Morgan and Mr. Lewellyn were unsuccessful.
Those returning to active service include three sergeants and a lieutenant.
A brief surveillance camera video posted by city officials this week showed several MPs in SWAT-type protective gear, armed and perched in the bed of a sheriff’s truck as they turned a corner and were approaching Mr. Brown’s house.
A judge ruled Wednesday to block public release of the body camera footage for at least 30 days, but said Mr Brown’s family may see a redacted version sooner.
The shooting has taken over civic life here in the city of 18,000, prompting nightly protests and an 8 p.m. curfew, and the closure of restaurants and businesses. There are street corner vendors selling “Black Lives Matter” t-shirts and signs in the windows of homes to support Mr. Brown and his family.
Ben Crump, lead attorney for the Brown family, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But Mr Crump, who has represented the family of George Floyd and other black people killed by police, has previously criticized the sheriff’s office for militarizing its response to non-violent offenses.
Sheriff Wooten said MPs knew Mr Brown was a convicted felon who had previously been arrested on several occasions for resisting arrest.
Mr. Brown was convicted of at least seven drug counts between 1999 and 2016 and served several years in prison, according to state corrections records. He was also convicted of speeding to escape arrest in 2003, according to records.
His funeral is scheduled for Monday, with a eulogy from Reverend Al Sharpton, who recently spoke at the funeral of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man who was killed earlier this month outside Minneapolis.
Write to Valerie Bauerlein at [email protected]
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