US Mourners Call for Police Reform during Black Man Funeral in North Carolina
By Staff, Agencies
Mourners gathered at a North Carolina funeral for Andrew Brown, an American Black man shot to death last month by sheriff’s deputies - the latest in a spate of US police killings of African Americans and members of US minority groups.
A long line of mourners filed into Elizabeth City's church, many wearing white T-shirts with Andrew Brown’s image and the words “Say his name.”
Rev. Al Sharpton delivered the eulogy and told the mourners that the drive to reform policing in the United States was a chapter in a decades-long struggle by Black Americans.
"We must deal with the inequality in the criminal justice system today," said Sharpton at the Fountain of Life Church in Elizabeth City. “That's the sign of the time.”
Brown, 42, was shot and killed by police during a morning raid at his home on April 21 as Pasquotank County sheriff's deputies attempted to serve arrest warrants, sparking days of protests in Elizabeth City in northeastern North Carolina.
An autopsy commissioned by his family said that he was shot five times by police, including once in the back of the head.
The gruesome cop killing and authorities' decision not to make public a video of the murder triggered suspicion.
"I know a con game when I see it," said Sharpton. "Release the whole tape, and let the folk see what happened to Andrew Brown."
"If he did wrong, bring him to court," he added. "But you don't have a right to bring him to his funeral."
A North Carolina judge has rejected requests to release four videos from body-worn police cameras of the shooting, claiming he was delaying the release for up to 45 days to allow investigators and the prosecutor to complete their investigations.
For their part, lawyers for Brown’s family said a 20-second portion of the video showed that he was “executed” by the deputies.
The brutal murder by the US police occurred a day after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering African-American George Floyd in a highly publicized trial.
The incidents of violence perpetuated against people of color in the US have witnessed an alarming surge in recent years, with George Floyd’s diabolical murder and the subsequent high-profile trial of the white police officer shining light on the phenomenon.