Andrew Brown Jr. Memorial Services Held As Peaceful Protests Continue In Elizabeth City
Several hundred protesters gathered on a breezy, warm Sunday afternoon in Elizabeth City, N.C., to continue calls for justice and accountability in the death of Andrew Brown Jr., the Black man who was shot and killed by Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies serving drug-related search and arrest warrants a week and a half ago.
The protesters were mostly young and from across North Carolina. They chanted, "Say his name. Andrew Brown!" and, "What do we want? We want the tapes. When do we want them? Now!" as they walked from a waterfront park through the city, pausing at various locations, including Brown’s home, which now features a large mural of him.
The peaceful, and at times festive, march happened as mourners streamed into a public viewing of Brown at the nearby Museum of the Albemarle, where he lied in open casket. He was dressed in a white dress shirt with a paisley tie.
An earlier viewing was also held at the Horton’s Funeral Home in Hertford.
Terrell Green, Brown's cousin, said he was playing cards and hanging out with Brown on April 21 a few hours before he was killed.
“I just feel like they’re trying to hide something,” Green said.
Protesters have gathered daily in Elizabeth City to demand accountability. Green said he has attended the protests as well.
“They declare a state of emergency, bring in all these officers from all over the place, set a curfew. We haven’t even broken a glass bottle," he said. "We just want the truth.”
Mourner Kenyatta Swain said he also knew Brown and described him as "always pleasant, willing to help anyone. Just a good guy, always for the community.”
Protesters ended their march outside the Pasquotank Public Safety Building, where the crowd heard speeches from representatives of Brown's legal team, his family, the North Carolina NAACP and the Rev. William Barber II, the leader of the Poor People’s Campaign.
Brown’s funeral will be held at noon Monday in Elizabeth City, with the Rev. Al Sharpton delivering the eulogy.
Brown’s family asked Sharpton to deliver the eulogy because they felt the civil rights leader would properly honor his legacy, said Lee Ferebee, the uncle of Brown’s son Khalil Ferebee.
The civil rights leader delivered the eulogy recently for Daunte Wright, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Minnesota.
Sharpton told The Associated Press in a phone interview that he agreed to the family’s request and spoke to Khalil Ferebee by phone last week. He said he’s also working with local clergy and North Carolina civil rights leaders, including Barber, to draw attention to racial injustice.
“The family ought to know that the value of his life is being saluted around the world,” Sharpton said.
Sharpton said that he wants to both celebrate Brown’s life and help call attention to larger problems with policing that need to be addressed.
“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,” he said.
On Thursday, Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten said that he had restored to duty four out of the seven deputies who were placed on administrative leave after the shooting death of Brown. Wooten said a review of body camera video showed the four did not fire their weapons.
Freelance photographer Kate Medley and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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