Police shooting of North Carolina Black man ruled homicide

Andrew Brown.
Andrew Brown. Photo credit: Twitter.

An autopsy released on Thursday for a Black North Carolina man who was killed in an April police shooting ruled his death a homicide, the New York Daily News reported.

Andrew Brown, 42, was shot as he resisted arrest and tried to flee by car during a morning raid at his home in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, a riverfront community where just over half of the roughly 18,000 residents are Black.

The medical examiner's finding that Brown's death was a homicide - which can refer to a non-criminal act or a felony such as murder - was released several weeks after a local district attorney said no charges would be brought in the case.

Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble announced on May 18 that he would not prosecute the officers involved in the shooting, concluding they felt their lives were endangered when Brown drove his car toward them. Brown was wanted on suspicion of selling illegal drugs.

Lawyers for Brown's family said at that time that Womble was trying to "whitewash this unjustified killing," and said videos of the shooting showed that officers were not in fear of their lives.

In a statement on Thursday, the family lawyers said: "Despite law enforcement's and the district attorney's best efforts to hide the facts in this case, and paint Andrew as a villain, we are confident that the truth will be revealed and justice will prevail."

The killing captured national attention, fueling a debate over the way police use force against Black Americans following the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for murdering George Floyd in a highly publicized trial.