North Carolina protests erupt as Elizabeth City is thrust into national spotlight


Protesters took to the streets in Elizabeth City, North Carolina for the sixth consecutive day Monday, following the killing of Andrew Brown Jr. last week.

The protests took place several hours after Brown’s family said they were only allowed to see a small portion of police body camera footage of the April 21 shooting. Authorities have released few details on the shooting and video of the incident has not yet been made public. 

On Monday evening, hundreds of protesters marched through the city’s downtown area, as some carried signs and chanted: “Release the tape! The real tape!”

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A motorist joins other protesters marching in the evening after family members were shown body camera footage of a deputy sheriff shooting and killing Black suspect Andrew Brown Jr. last week, in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, on April 26, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake

A motorist joins other protesters marching in the evening after family members were shown body camera footage of a deputy sheriff shooting and killing Black suspect Andrew Brown Jr. last week, in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, on April 26, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake

Local police — who were blocking traffic to allow the protests to pass by — were confronted by the crowd on two occasions, according to the Charlotte Observer. 

“Say his name! Say his name!” the group yelled before moving on. 

Elizabeth City police warned people on social media to expect delays and road closures in the area, as traffic was redirected in response to the protests. At one point, demonstrators blocking traffic on a heavily used roadway in the city, according to reports. 

WAVY News 10’s Brett Hall tweeted that demonstrators took to the streets to “disrupt commerce.” Hall said many believed the redacted version of the footage was evidence it was “a cover-up.”

Protesters also went to the home of Pasquotank County Attorney R. Michael Cox, as some called on him to resign, he added. 

Bakari Sellers, an attorney for Brown’s family, previously claimed that Cox tried to keep lawyers for Brown’s family from viewing the footage, according to the New York Post. He criticized Cox and police for showing only 20 seconds of the video. Sellers also claimed Cox used profanity during a meeting with attorneys and members of Brown’s family. 

On Monday, protesters Curtis Gatewood and Tony Riddick declared their outrage after Brown’s attorneys said the family saw just 20 seconds of the video. 

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“What a spit in the face. What a slap in the face,” said Riddick, who lives in Hertford, about 15 miles southwest of Elizabeth City, according to WVEC.

“They just want to see what happened. It’s humane. It’s a humane ask,” added Gatewood.

Cox said in a statement Monday that the law allows his office to blur faces in bodycam footage to preserve the integrity of an internal investigation.

Brown’s death has led to nightly protests and demands for justice in Elizabeth City, which declared a state of emergency as it braced for new outrage over the shooting. He was killed by deputies serving drug-related search and arrest warrants.

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Demonstrators dispersed around 10:45 p.m. on Monday, police said. 

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