ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. — The FBI has opened a federal civil rights investigation into the police shooting that killed Andrew Brown, Jr. in North Carolina last week.
In a statement obtained by WTKR, an FBI spokesperson said agents will work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the state and the Department of Justice to determine whether federal laws were violated in the officer-involved shooting.
The announcement of the probe came soon after the results of an independent autopsy conducted by a group representing Brown’s family were revealed. The autopsy determined the 42-year-old man was shot five times by police, including a fatal gunshot wound to the back of his head.
In a press conference Tuesday, lawyers for Brown’s family said he was shot four times in the arm before officers fired the fatal shot. That fatal shot entered his skull near the base of his neck and lodged in his brain.
Lawyers said Brown died last Wednesday “within minutes” of the fatal gunshot wound.
"We now know this in fact was the fatal wound to the back of his head as he was leaving the site trying to evade being shot at by law enforcement," attorney Harry Daniels said.
"You all know from the death certificate that it was a 'penetrating gunshot wound to the head.' But what they did not know was that it was a kill shot to the back of the head," attorney Ben Crump said.
Among those who spoke at Tuesday's press conference was Brown's son, Khalil Ferebee.
"Yesterday I said he was executed, that was correct. It was obvious he was trying to get away," Ferebee said.
Portions of Tuesday's press conference were interrupted by protesters.
"You don't have have to be a Democrat or a Republican to understand that injustice was done," attorney Bakari Sellers told the protesters. "You don't have to be Black or white."
Seven members of the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Department are on administrative leave following the shooting and two others have either resigned or retired.
In a press conference Monday conducted shortly after family members and lawyers reviewed body camera footage of the shooting, attorneys referred to Brown’s death as an “execution.”
The family was only shown a 20-second portion of the footage of the shooting, which took place last Wednesday. They say the video shows Brown in his car as deputies opened fire.
Lawyers say Brown was not a threat to officers when the shooting began and that he had his hands on the car's steering wheel when the first shot was fired. They added that Brown later backed his car up to avoid gunshots, not to target officers.
Lawyers during Tuesday's press conference said that the four gunshot wounds to Brown's arm prove that his arms were on the steering wheel.
The body camera footage from the fatal shootings has not yet been made public. In North Carolina, body-worn police footage can only be released to the public with a court order. The sheriff says the county plans on filing a motion in court asking for the footage to be released.
Prior family member viewing the footage, Elizabeth City declared a state of emergency, noting that the footage could lead to “civil unrest.” There have been six consecutive days of protest marches in the city since last Wednesday; all have been peaceful.