Lingering unanswered questions surrounding the nation’s most recent high-profile police shooting of a Black person will be looming large as friends and family say goodbye to Andrew Brown Jr. at his funeral on Monday.
Following a weekend of protests calling for transparency from a local justice system intent on being anything but, Brown will be laid to rest in Elizabeth City, North Carolina — the same city where multiple police officers shot the driver to death while he was in his car driving away from them.
Two viewings were held Sunday night prior to Monday’s funeral at the Fountain of Life Church. The funeral is scheduled to begin at noon and will feature a eulogy by Rev. Al Sharpton. Members of Brown’s family, civil rights attorney Ben Crump along with local clergy and dignitaries were expected to deliver remarks, as well.
The funeral is private, but people wishing to pay their respects can watch online by clicking here.
Family lawyers contend Brown was driving away from Pasquotank County Sheriff’s deputies trying to serve him a warrant and did not pose a mortal threat when they opened fire. They also said shooting at a moving vehicle violates state law. They claim Brown was only holding his car’s steering wheel when he was shot in the back of the head.
It was nearly a week after the shooting when the district attorney claimed police only fired their guns after Brown struck them with his car — a narrative that was missing from initial law enforcement accounts.
Since that shooting on April 21, there has been a nonstop battle over making public all of the video footage, which suggests a possible police coverup, lawyers have said. Family members were finally granted last week the right to view all of the videos recorded during the shooting after only having been previously shown a 20-second “snippet” that was edited by prosecutors.
However, North Carolina Superior Court Judge Jeffery Foster‘s ruling included blocking those same videos from being publicly released for at least 30 days, after which he said he will review that decision based on how much progress has been made in the case. (It’s also worth noting that Foster’s Facebook page contains pro-police commentary and even called George Zimmerman‘s murder acquittal for killing Trayvon Martin “the right thing.”)
Bakari Sellers, who is representing Brown’s family, said those who viewed the edited video last week were shown “disrespect.” He said Pasquotank County Attorney R. Michael Cox claimed he was “not fucking going to be bullied” into showing the entire video.
In Pasquotank County, body camera footage cannot be released without a court order.
Meanwhile, Fox News added insult to literal injury when the conservative right-wing media outlet tried to assassinate Brown’s character in death by reporting his criminal past. Fox News reported that the warrant police were trying to serve to Brown claimed an informant allegedly bought illegal drugs from him for more than a year.
To be sure, there were no reports of drugs — or guns — being found in Brown’s car, making Fox News’ report the very definition of irrelevant. In fact, if there was anything illegal being done by Brown or on his person or in his car, the Fox News article would have prominently mentioned it. So would the cops. But in a telling sign nearly two weeks after the shooting, that has not happened.
It was in that context that Brown’s funeral was being held amid ongoing protests for there to be justice in his case as well as so many other recent and historical examples of Black victims of police violence being denied dignity in death.
Scroll down to see some of the scenes from Brown’s funeral and a weekend of protests demanding justice for his police killing.
1. Andrew Brown Jr.’s FuneralSource:Getty
Pallbearers prepare to carry the casket of Andrew Brown Jr. to a horse-drawn carriage before his funeral service at the Fountain of Life Church on May 3 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
Khalil Ferebee (3rd from right), along with other family members, follows behind a horse-drawn carriage as it brings the remains of his father, Andrew Brown Jr., to his funeral service in Elizabeth City.
Family and friends follow behind a horse-drawn carriage as it brings the remains of Andrew Brown Jr. to his funeral.
Khalil Ferebee follows behind a horse-drawn carriage bringing the remains of his father Andrew Brown Jr. to his funeral.
Pallbearers carry the casket of Andrew Brown Jr. to a horse-drawn carriage before his funeral service.
Pallbearers place the casket of Andrew Brown Jr. into a horse-drawn carriage before his funeral.
7. Andrew Brown Jr. Viewing HeldSource:Getty
The remains of Andrew Brown Jr. arrive for a public viewing at Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, on May 2.
A public viewing for Andrew Brown Jr. is held at the Horton’s Funeral Home and Cremations Chapel in Hertford, North Carolina.
11. Protest after killing of Andrew Brown Jr. in North CarolinaSource:Getty
People stage a demonstration after the killing of Andrew Brown Jr. demanding the release of the body camera videos the day before the funeral in Elizabeth City on May 2.
Khalil Ferebee, the son of Andrew Brown, Jr., looks on at his son — Andrew’s grandson — Karter Ferebee on May 2. The march was led by Reverend Greg Drumwright and joined by Reverend Barber and the family of Andrew Brown Jr. as the protesters were asking for justice after Pasquotank County Sheriff’s deputies killed Brown on April 21.
Reverend Barber speaks during a protest after the killing of Andrew Brown Jr. demanding the release of the body camera videos the day before the funeral in Elizabeth City on May 2.
Reverend Greg Drumwright (left) leads a march during a protest after the killing of Andrew Brown Jr. demanding the release of the body camera videos the day before the funeral in Elizabeth City on May 2.