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Mourners gathered to pay their last respects to Andrew Brown Jr. on Monday, remembering him as “a very good man”– and demanding justice for his shooting death by police.
“It kept coming up in my head that here we are again,” attorney Bakari Sellers during funeral services at the Fountain of Life Church in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
“To many people, this is just another black body,” Sellers said. “But to us it’s a brother, a father, a nephew, a loved one.”
Brown’s body rested at the front of the chapel in Elizabeth City, in a metallic casket, as dozens filled the chapel, not far from where he was shot and killed outside his home on April 21.
“It’s a terrible way we have to be together like this, but seeing everybody, I’m glad we’re together like this right now,” Brown’s oldest son, Khalil Ferebee, told mourners. “He would’ve loved this. I just wish he was here.”
“But as much as I can wish and wish all day, it’s not going to happen,” he said. “We just got to hold him down. Do what he would want us to do in life. I love you, Pops.”
“We’re here for Andrew,” added Brown’s aunt, Sandra White. “We’re going to stand strong for him. Because I know him as a very good person.”
“Now, Andrew is resting, but he left some fighters and he left pro warriors to do his bidding,” she said. “God has already prepared us to carry on the fight for justice.”
“Justice will prevail,” White said.
The funeral followed public viewings and a memorial service for Brown on Sunday.
Brown’s family has called his shooting “an execution.”
Pasquotank County officials have refused to release bodycam footage of the fatal shooting — and a local judge agreed last week to delay the release of the footage for 30 to 45 days pending an internal investigation.
Brown’s family was only allowed to view a 20-second clip of one bodycam — and are demanding the full release of all the footage and other evidence.
Judge Jeffrey Foster ruled that the family may view the footage within 10 days — but will not be allowed to get copies until an internal investigation is complete.
Also last week, Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten identified the deputies who fired their weapons as Investigator Daniel Meads, Deputy Robert Morgan and Corporal Aaron Lewellyn, who all remain on administrative leave.
Four other deputies at the scene were put on leave after the shooting but were later reinstated when investigators determined they never fired their weapons.
Protesters have taken to the streets of Elizabeth City daily for largely peaceful demonstrations since Brown’s death.
Among those speaking at his funeral Monday were family attorney Ben Crump and civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton, who called for police to release the bodycam videos and for Congress to pass a police reform bill.
“It’s time for you to stop playing with the lives of our people,” he said.
Also in attendance were the families of Eric Garner, Daunte Wright, George Floyd, and other black men who have been killed in encounters with police.
“You’re part of us, man,” Floyd’s brother Terrence said. “It’s a shame in America that us as black men, we got to duck and dodge death when it’s not even looking at us.”
“I just want to let you all know we’re there for y’all,” he said. “We’re connected.”
Brown is due to be buried on Tuesday, his family said.