Attorneys for the family of a North Carolina man fatally shot by deputies have called for a local district attorney to recuse himself from the case, citing “well-defined” conflicts between the prosecutor and the sheriff’s office.
Andrew Brown Jr. was fatally shot by Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies in Elizabeth City on April 21 when they attempted to serve him with an arrest warrant, according to the sheriff’s office.
Andrew Womble, the district attorney for Pasquotank and nearby counties, has said Brown’s moving vehicle made contact with law enforcement officers twice before the deputies opened fire. The family attorneys dispute that account.
“There is no doubt all seven officers involved, including the three shooters, have worked directly with you and your office for years in prosecuting various cases,” the family attorneys wrote in a letter to Womble on Wednesday.
Seven deputies have been placed on administrative leave following the shooting, two others have resigned and one deputy retired, according to Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten.
Not all the deputies who were placed on administrative leave discharged their firearms, Wooten said, but they were all part of the warrant operation.
The letter, signed by family attorney Bakari Sellers, asked that “in the interest of fairness, transparency and pursuit of the ends of justice” Womble move the case to another jurisdiction and “immediately recuse yourself.”
“You and your office not only work with Sheriff Wooten and his deputies daily, your office physically resides in the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s department,” the attorneys wrote. “The conflict is well-defined.”
CNN has reached out to Womble for comment.
This week, a North Carolina judge issued an order to allow Brown’s immediate family to see body camera videos of his fatal encounter with law enforcement. Some family members will be allowed to view some videos on May 11, according to the sheriff’s office.
Authorities had previously showed the family what the relatives said was 20 seconds of video — which one of their attorneys described as an “execution” and deputies are seen shooting at Brown as he sat in his vehicle with his hands on the steering wheel.
Protesters have been calling almost nightly for the full release of the videos. Another protest with members of the clergy was set for Saturday.