Four of the seven sheriff’s placed on administrative leave following the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr., have been reinstated after body-camera footage revealed they did not fire their weapons, officials said Thursday.
Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten made the announcement in a statement in which he revealed the names of all seven of the deputies.
“After reviewing the preliminary conclusions of the independent investigators conducting the internal review, and after carefully examining the body camera footage of the incident with my own staff, it’s obvious that four of the deputies never fired their weapons and deserve to be reinstated to active duty,” Wooten said. “More investigation is necessary into the three deputies who did fire their weapons and they will remain on administrative leave pending completion of the internal investigation and/or the criminal investigation being conducted by the State Bureau of Investigation.”
The announcement came a day after a judge rejected a request to publicly release the bodycam footage but said the Brown family could view it. Superior Court Judge Jeff Foster said releasing the video could impact a potential trial of deputies who opened fire on Brown, 42, during an attempt to serve search and arrest warrants in Elizabeth City.
An independent autopsy commissioned by Brown’s family revealed he was shot five times, including once in the back of the head.
District Attorney Andrew Womble told a judge Thursday that Brown backed his car out of his driveway before deputies opened fire.
“As it backs up, it does make contact with law enforcement officers,” Womble said. “The next movement of the car is forward. It is in the direction of law enforcement and makes contact with law enforcement. It is then and only then that you hear shots.”
Wooten has promised transparency and accountability as his office continues to come under fire for Brown’s death amid consecutive nights of . He has pushed back on accusations from attorneys for the Brown family and activists that his office is withholding part of the video.
“I asked the court to make the body camera footage public. I insisted on outside investigations to ensure impartiality,” he said. “And now I’m releasing the names of the deputies on the scene. I’ll continue to be transparent whenever I can — without interfering in the independent investigations.”
He released the so that “citizens can cut through the deception and falsehoods advanced by out of town agitators and social media instigators.”
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.