Superior Court Judge Jeff Foster has ruled that the Elizabeth City Police Department does not have to publicly release body camera footage of the Andrew Brown Jr. shooting. Instead, Foster has ruled that members of the Brown family can view the footage privately.
Foster believes that releasing the footage would threaten the possibility of a fair trial. However, he did not specify why releasing evidence would make potential jurors impartial.
“The release at this time would create a serious threat to the fair, impartial and orderly administration of justice,” Foster said.
“Confidentiality is necessary to protect either an active internal or criminal investigation or a potential internal or criminal investigation.”
Still, there is a possibility that the body camera footage could be released at a later date. Foster left the door open to revisit his decision in 30 to 45 days after independent investigations have been completed.
“The court will, in its discretion, consider at that time further release of the video based on the factors as they exist at that time,” Foster said.
Brown Jr. was killed by police earlier this month while sitting in his car. Officers attempted to serve him an arrest warrant, but they ended up shooting him five times. At the time of his death, Brown Jr. was reportedly unarmed and had not harmed any officers.