A North Carolina judge on Wednesday ruled against the release of police body camera footage in the killing of Andrew Brown Jr.
Superior Court Judge Jeff Foster said that there was “compelling public interest” in the video, but that the media is not entitled to see it and that its release “would create a serious threat to the fair impartial and orderly administration of justice.”
Foster also ruled that the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation would have 30-45 days to complete its probe, at which point he would consider a public release of the footage.
The judge did rule that Brown’s son Khalil Ferebee, other members of Brown’s immediate family and one attorney for the family would be able to see the entirety of the footage within 10 days.
But Foster gave the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office discretion to blur out faces and any other identifying information of the officers involved as needed.
Brown was shot and killed in Elizabeth City, N.C., by deputies from the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office last Wednesday, just a day after a Minneapolis jury found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.
Brown’s family and attorneys have described his killing as an execution, saying his hands were on the steering wheel of his car when police began shooting. They also say Brown was trying to escape police after the shooting began when he was killed. An autopsy report found he had been shot five times and that he had died from a gunshot to the back of the head.
Under North Carolina law, police body camera footage cannot be publicly released without approval by a judge.
Family members of Brown were shown a short, redacted clip of the footage earlier in the week, though state statute says that a victim’s family is privy to see all of the raw footage.