The police officers involved in the April shooting of a black motorist in North Carolina will not face criminal charges over his death.
The shooting of Andrew Brown, 42, was “justified,” the Elizabeth City district attorney told reporters.
Officials say he drove his car at police during the 44-second encounter.
Mr Brown’s family disagree with authorities, and say he was “executed”. An independent inquiry found he was shot five times, including in the back.
His death on 21 April has led to continuing protests against police brutality.
What did the district attorney say?
In a news conference on Tuesday, District Attorney Andrew Womble said Mr Brown “posed an immediate threat to the safety of the officers” when he ignored commands and tried to drive off.
“I find that the facts of this case clearly illustrate the officers who used deadly force on Andrew Brown Jr did so reasonably and only when a violent felon used a deadly weapon to place their lives in danger,” he said.
He added that Mr Brown was being served with felony and search warrants, and “they could not simply let him go as has been suggested”.
Mr Womble said Mr Brown employed the car as a deadly weapon “to evade lawful arrest”.
When questioned over Mr Brown’s intentions, the district attorney said even though he believes Mr Brown was just trying to flee, “he had no choice but to drive at the officers”.
“When he did that, and he made that decision on his own, he placed their lives in danger.”
Mr Womble said he held Tuesday’s briefing in order to be transparent, given the high profile nature of the case. He defended his decision to not release information earlier, saying this is the normal legal process.
He added: “In these cases we should not jump to conclusions until all the facts are out.”
Mr Womble told reporters he had not spoken with Mr Brown’s family ahead of the news conference. He said there were “barriers” in speaking with the family and their counsel.
“In all honesty we could’ve done a better job to repair that relationship prior to this,” he said. “It’s unfortunate and I don’t like the way it played out.”
What has the family said?
Mr Brown’s family disagrees with the official explanation of the incident.
After reviewing the police footage of the shooting, the family denies that Mr Brown was driving towards police when he was shot.
“Yesterday I saw him executed,” Mr Brown’s son, Khalil Ferebee, said shortly after viewing the footage. “It’s obvious he was trying to get away.”
“Andrew had his hands on his steering wheel. He was not reaching for anything. He wasn’t touching anything,” another lawyer for the family, Chantel Cherry-Lassiter, told reporters.
“It was a kill shot to the back of the head,” Ben Crump, one of the lawyers representing the family, told a news conference. Mr Crump has represented other families in high-profile police shootings of African-Americans, including the relatives of George Floyd.
No officers were injured in the incident, which took place outside Mr Brown’s Elizabeth City home, Mr Womble said.
Syndicated from https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-57160926