Washington – The family of an African-American man shot dead by US police last week have described his killing as an “execution” after viewing a short bodycam video from an officer at the scene.
Police use of lethal force against Black Americans has become a national controversy, heightened by last week’s murder conviction of a Minneapolis officer over the killing of George Floyd a year ago — an incident that triggered large protests.
Relatives of Andrew Brown, who was shot and killed by police in North Carolina on April 21, said that the 20-second video appeared to show him with his hands on the steering wheel of his car before he was killed.
“My dad got executed just trying to save his own life,” Khalil Ferebee, one of Brown’s sons, told reporters yesterday. “It ain’t right at all.”
The circumstances of Brown’s death remain unclear, but the 42-year-old was shot as he reportedly tried to drive away from officers who sought to serve him an arrest warrant over drug-dealing charges.
Family attorney Chantel Cherry-Lassiter said the video showed Brown in his vehicle which was blocked in a driveway by police.
“Andrew had his hands on his steering wheel. He was not reaching for anything. He wasn’t touching anything,” she said.
“They run up to his vehicle shooting… His car was riddled with bullets, shooting him when he was not threatening them in any form or fashion.”
Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten said that “this tragic incident was quick and over in less than 30 seconds, and body cameras are shaky and sometimes hard to decipher.
“They only tell part of the story.”
Seven sheriff’s deputies have been put on administrative leave after Brown’s death, local media said.
Body camera footage and phone videos have played a key role in fuelling anger over police conduct in the United States, with officers accused of racism and brutality. — AFP