'I'm not releasing the video — this is done': NC DA gets defensive after announcing no charges in police shooting
The Pasquotank County, North Carolina District Attorney announced Tuesday he will not be filing charges against police officers who shot Andrew Brown, Jr., an unarmed 42-year old Black man, in the head, killing him while serving an arrest warrant on April 21. After holding a lengthy press conference Andrew Womble became defensive when asked about releasing the video, and later when asked how he could make a decision to not charge officers when all the facts are not in.
"I'm not releasing the video, this is done," Womble told reporters. "Anything in my office is not public record by statute."
The Associated Press adds: "Womble, who showed portions of the video at the news conference, said Tuesday that he would not release the video."
Womble reportedly has a total of about two hours of video from police body cams, but only allowed the family of Andrew Brown, Jr. to see less than 20 minutes worth. He showed a very small portion of video on Tuesday to support his decision to not file charges against any of the officers.
Womble went on to say that any release of the video would have to be done through the court, but when asked if he had requested the video be released he said he had not.
"You can not swing a skunk in front of a group of people then ask them not to smell it," Womble said last month.
On Tuesday Womble told reporters, "Mr. Brown's death, while tragic, was justified, because Mr. Brown's actions caused three deputies with the Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office to reasonably believe it was necessary to use deadly force to protect themselves and others."
After urging the public to not "jump to conclusions until all the facts are out," one reporter reminded Womble he had just admitted he did not have all the facts.
"Do you think all the facts are out?" the reporter said. "You told us that you don't know how fast the car was going, whether the car was decelerating or accelerating. And the still images you showed us told a different story, before the first shot was fired. Once you put the video in motion, it looked like Brown was turning away from the officer."
"I'm sorry, your question is?" Womble, defensively replied.
"How do you respond to that?" the reporter posited.
"What was the question?" Womble again replied.
"Are you sure all the facts are in?" the reporter continued. "You said you don't know if the car was decelerating or accelerating."
"I know that all of the facts that I needed to make this decision are in," Womble replied.
"Isn't that important?" the reporter pressed. "That's important. If you look at the video. If you look at the video in motion, it looks like he's turning away before the first shot is fired, that's important."
"Sir, there are several cases," Womble said defensively, "there's a litany of cases in our American jurisprudence where shots are fired into still cars, cars that aren't moving. So, the speed at which Mr. Brown is moving at the officers…notv relevant in my determination."
The reporter said if Brown had hit the brakes, "isn't that important?"
Womble refused to answer and went to another reporter.
The full video of Womble's press conference is here:
WATCH: Officials hold news conference on investigation into Andrew Brown Jr. death
Al Sharpton weighed in:
Elizabeth City DA Womble who is running for Superior Court Judge gave a bizarre and unconvincing defense of not cha… https://t.co/tMUQgqqOgy— Reverend Al Sharpton (@Reverend Al Sharpton)1621354843.0