September 28, 2023

Will there be justice for Ahmaud and Andrew?

By: Roy Douglas Malonson

“In order to protect life and property, prevent crime and reduce the fear of crime, we will provide service with understanding, response with compassion, performance with integrity, and law enforcement with purpose and vision.”

Though this is the mission statement of the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office, a recent “overkill” shooting shows the office is lacking in understanding, compassion, and especially integrity.

Another Black man has been killed by police in AmeriKKKa, and again, Benjamin Crump is standing beside a grieving family at a news conference about the death.

Andrew Brown Jr., 42, was shot to death by police last week in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. His family is calling it a cold-blooded “execution.”

According to Sheriff Tommy Wooten, seven Pasquotank deputies were trying to serve Brown search and arrest warrants from a felony drug charge.

“This tragic incident was quick and over in less than 30 seconds, and body cameras are shaky and sometimes hard to decipher,” Wooten said.

Do you hear this? Thirty seconds, and a Black man was dead.

Reports indicate that Brown was attempting to get away when deputies opened fire. He was shot several times in the arm as he was driving, but an independent autopsy concluded that the fatal shot was a gunshot wound to the back of the head. It has been shown that Brown posed no major threat to deputies as he was attempting to flee.

Adding insult to injury, Brown’s relatives and attorneys said in a news conference that they were only allowed to view a 20-second body camera video of the incident. The footage showed deputies in a pickup truck rushing to arrest Brown. Shouting and commands can be heard, but the actual shooting is not shown.

The deputies involved have been placed on administrative leave.

Unlike some states, North Carolina does not consider police recordings to be public record. Formal requests have to be signed off by a judge for recordings to be released.

Bakari Sellers, one of the Brown family attorneys, says that even though the body camera footage is not a public document, the Sheriff has the authority to release the footage to the family in private.

Shortly after the news conference, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) opened a Civil Rights investigation separate from the state’s examination of the shooting.

Why do we have to jump through hoops to get the full footage of the shooting released?  The video showing the deadly shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio was released several hours after the incident, so what’s different about this case?

Democratic state lawmakers are advocating for legislation to require that all body-cam and dashboard-cam footage be released to the public within 48 hours, unless a court order restricts access.

Civil Rights Attorney Benjamin Crump is coming right out with it, asking, “What is the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office hiding?”

We have to ask the same thing, but we should already know. White folks trying to protect other White folks while Black folks getting ready to bury another one of their own.

And with the continuous spree of murdering Blacks, another former law enforcement officer – and his son – may finally have their own day of reckoning.

On Wednesday, the three men who were previously charged in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery were indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with hate crimes and attempted kidnapping.

On Feb. 23, 2020, Arbery was “jogging while Black” in Brunswick, Georgia, when Travis McMichael, 35, and his father, Gregory McMichael, 65, chased him down in their truck and shot him dead. The father and son used the bogus excuse that they thought the Black jogger was breaking into homes in their neighborhood.

William “Roddie” Bryan, 51, was driving behind the father-son duo in a separate truck and filmed the shooting.

The father, a retired police officer, leaked the video because he wanted “the public to know the truth,” his attorney said.

That video is what sealed their fate and brought about the initial murder charges against the McMichaels. Now, the Department of Justice said it is clear that the men confronted Arbery “because of his race.”

Arbery, who was described by all as loving and compassionate, was killed at the young age of 25. He went out for a simple jog, and never returned. He wasn’t a burglar, he wasn’t a criminal, his only “crime” in the eyes of a racist White America was being born Black.

Keep your eyes open and your heads up, people. In the meanwhile, will there be justice for Ahmaud and Andrew?




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