Thursday, December 08, 2022

$3M settlement in lawsuit over black man’s death

A North Carolina sheriff’s office on Monday announced a $3 million settlement in a lawsuit filed by the family of an unarmed black man who was shot and killed in his car by sheriff’s deputies more than a year ago.

Andrew Brown Jr.’s family filed a $30 million civil rights lawsuit In 2021, it said the man died because authorities showed “deliberate and reckless disregard for his life”.

Brown was killed on April 21 last year by the Pascotank County Sheriff’s Deputy while he was serving a drug-related warrant at his Elizabeth City home. Several deputies surrounded Brown in his BMW before his car was backed up and proceeded. They fired several shots at his vehicle and at him. He died after being shot in the back of the head.

District Attorney Andrew Wombley said at a news conference last year that Brown had used his car as a “lethal weapon” that the deputy believed was necessary to use lethal force. But lawyers for the Brown family said the shooting was unfair. Because Brown was trying to escape – not towards the deputy and was in no danger. After viewing body camera footage of the shooting, he said that Brown was sitting in his stationary car. With his hands on the wheel when the first of many shots was fired.

The settlement was approved by the Pasquotank County Board of Commissioners. According to a statement from the Sheriff’s Office provided to the Associated Press, this includes a special $1 million appropriation to go along with $2 million from the county’s insurance policy, which was supplied by the North Carolina County Liability Pool. That amount is on the policy limit.

The case, seen by a federal magistrate in US District Court in Raleigh, was settled over several weeks last month, the news release said.

The news release said the county’s payment resolves potential liability against the defendants and any individual officers who were either named or may have been named as defendants in the lawsuit. The news release said the family also entered into a stipulation in which it denied all claims against the defendants, namely those arising out of Brown’s death, namely Pascotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten II and three sheriff’s representatives. Other possible claims were also dismissed.

The sheriff’s office said Brown’s children would share in the settlement proceeds as heirs to his estate.

“Andrew Brown Jr. was a devoted father who wanted his children to have things they didn’t have,” said a statement from five attorneys representing his family. “While no agreement can ever fill the hole in their hearts left by their death, this agreement will ensure to provide for the future of those children, secure their education and ensure that their dreams do not die with their father. is about.”

At the time, the lawsuit filed by the Brown family was the latest in a string of federal civil rights lawsuits. Following the high-profile police shootings of black and brown men. Many ended up in settlements that often included money but no acknowledgment of the crime. Some trials end up in court where a jury can award large-scale settlements that are reduced on appeal.

An independent autopsy commissioned by the family said Brown was shot five times, including once in the back of the head. Family members, who were shown part of the body camera video in private, later said that Brown was trying to escape when he was shot. Shooting fueled days of protest In the town of rural northeastern North Carolina.

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