Black man fatally shot by sheriff’s MPs serving a search warrant in North Carolina

From Rich McKay

(Reuters) – North Carolina state officials have opened an investigation into the fatal shooting of a black man in his car by the local sheriff’s deputies who served him with a search warrant. Authorities and local media reported on Wednesday.

The shooting took place Wednesday morning in Elizabeth City, a riverside town of about 18,000 people in Pasquotank County near the North Carolina-Virginia coastal border, and small groups of protesters took to the streets that evening.

The county sheriff’s office and the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), which said they had taken on the case, each provided few details of the fatal encounter.

Authorities identified the man who was killed as Andrew Brown Jr., a resident of Elizabeth City, saying only that he was shot when the sheriff’s deputies tried to serve him with a search warrant around 8:40 a.m.

Relatives described him to Raleigh News & Observer and other media outlets as a 40-year-old father and an African American.

Police officers did not say whether Brown was armed at the time or whether he was seen as a threat to the officers. The type of arrest warrant was not disclosed.

The shooting took place the day after a jury found Derek Chauvin, a white ex-Minneapolis police officer, guilty of murdering George Floyd last year by kneeling on his neck while handcuffed and arrested.

Brown’s relatives told CNN and other media outlets that he was near his home and in a car at the time of the shooting.

All MPs at the scene wore police cameras, and the MP who fired the gun was on administrative leave, Pasquotank County’s Sheriff Tommy Wooten told a news conference Wednesday.

Wooten was accompanied by local District Attorney R. Andrew Womble, who said he was looking for “exact answers, not quick answers”.

As news of the shootings spread, local media showed dozens of people gathering outside City Hall as the city council held an emergency meeting on Wednesday evening to discuss the case and a possible curfew. African Americans make up about half of the city’s population.

No curfew was imposed immediately, but that power was given to Police Chief Eddie Buffaloe Jr., who told the council that his goal was “to keep the peace.”

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