Seven North Carolina sheriff’s deputies have been placed on administrative leave following the fatal police shooting of a Black man on Wednesday, according to reports.
Sheriff Tommy Wooten said the deputies were executing a search warrant and an arrest warrant for felony drug charges when Andrew Brown Jr. was “fatally wounded.”
“Our deputies attempted to serve the arrest warrant,” Wooten told reporters in a statement released Wednesday. “They fired the shots. They’ve been put on administrative leave until we know all the facts.”
“What I will say is that if evidence shows that any of my deputies violate the law or policies, they will be held accountable,” Wooten added.
Maj. Aaron Wallio of the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Friday that the seven deputies were on leave, while two others have resigned and one has retired since the shooting of Brown in Elizabeth City, The New York Times reported.
The sheriff’s office has said that the resignations are not related to the incident.
The office has not described the circumstances surrounding the incident further, which has led to increased demands for the sheriff’s office to release the deputies’ body camera footage.
The day before the shooting, nearby Dare County issued two arrest warrants for Brown on drug-related charges, including possession with intent to sell cocaine, according to court documents released Thursday.
An eyewitness said deputies fired at Brown multiple times as he tried to drive away. The car skidded out of Brown’s yard and hit a tree, said Demetria Williams, who lives on the same street. A car that authorities removed from the scene appeared to have multiple bullet holes.
Members of the Elizabeth City Council voted unanimously during an emergency meeting Friday to formally call on authorities to release the body camera footage.
Officials with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, which is leading the probe into the shooting, said the footage can only be released by a court order.
Gov. Roy Cooper also called for the release of the body camera footage. He posted a statement on Twitter, saying that the shooting was “tragic” and “extremely concerning.”