Four North Carolina deputies suspended over Andrew Brown shooting return to work as three who fired guns remain on leave

FOUR out of the seven deputies involved in the deadly warrant-serving confrontation with Andrew Brown Jr are back on active duty.

Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten said on Thursday that after review of bodycam footage, the officers were returned to patrol from administrative leave as they did not fire their service weapons during the April 21 incident.

The other three who did fire will remain on leave until the North Carolina Bureau of Investigation completes its work.

The four back on active duty are Lt Steve Judd, Sgt Michael Swindell, Sgt Kendall Bishop and Sgt Joel Lunsford, while the three remaining on leave are Investigator Daniel Meads, Deputy Sheriff II Robert Morgan and Corp Aaron Lewellyn.

"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 in a statement on Thursday.

Brown, 42, was witnessed attempting to drive away from a deputy serving a drug-related warrant at his Elizabeth City, North Carolina home. 

The days after his death have been answered with an eruption of constant protests.

The fury in the streets came on the heels of the murder and manslaughter conviction of Derek Chauvin, the 45-year-old white former police officer who killed George Floyd, the 46-year-old black man, by kneeling on Floyd's neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

The FBI confirmed that it has opened its own investigation into Brown's police-involved shooting death.

Meanwhile, here’s also been mounting questions as to why a judge refused to release the bodycam footage of the deadly confrontation. 

Sheriff Wooten stated he was “disappointed” the footage wouldn’t be released to the public.

“I wanted the body camera footage to be released to the public as soon as possible, and I’m disappointed it won’t happen immediately,” he said.

“Obviously, I’ll respect the judge’s ruling.”

Brown's family called his death an "execution" after authorities showed them 20-seconds worth of bodycam footage from the incident.

They also learned from an independent autopsy performed on April 25, by a pathologist hired by Brown’s family.

Those findings suggested the 42-year-old was hit five times by deputies’ slugs; four times in the arm, and once — in what civil rights attorney Ben Crump called the alleged fatal "kill shot" — in the head.

Elizabeth City District Attorney Andrew Womble characterized sheriff’s deputies trying to encircle Brown's car, according to Reuters.

The prosecutor said Brown allegedly tried reversing multiple times when one deputy attempted to open a car door as fellow officers commanded Brown to stay put. 

Womble contends deputies turned to lethal force when Brown allegedly rolled his car forward and made "contact" with them, Reuters reported.

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