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News Roundup

On Monday, District Attorney Andrew Womble announced his determination that the killing of Andrew Brown Jr. by Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies during the service of search and arrest warrants at Brown’s home in Elizabeth City last month was justified by reasonable belief that deadly force was necessary due to Brown’s use of his vehicle as a weapon and means of escape.  Keep reading for more on this story and other news.

Brown.  At a lengthy press conference where he took questions, Womble discussed the events surrounding Brown’s death by giving a background on the investigation leading to it.  He said that a detective with the Dare County Sheriff’s Office had received information from a reliable confidential source that Brown was selling drugs and that tip led to controlled buys of cocaine and heroin.  The Dare County Drug Task Force provided surveillance for the service of warrants related to this activity by the Pasquotank Special Operations and Tactics Team.

To serve the warrants, Pasquotank deputies surrounded Brown with guns drawn while he was sitting in his car after arriving home.  Womble showed bodycam images of Brown reversing his car away from the deputies, while one was gripping Brown’s door handle, and then driving forward in the direction of a deputy.  Discussing the findings of a North Carolina Justice Academy forensic analyst, Womble said that the first shot fired at Brown entered the front windshield of his vehicle, another entered the passenger window, and several others came through the rear door and windshield.  The vehicle then accelerated and several additional shots were fired through the rear windshield prior to the car crossing a street, missing nearby officers, and striking a tree.  Forty-four seconds elapsed between the initial arrival of officers at Brown’s home and their removal of him, fatally wounded, from his vehicle.

Tyson.  The Fayetteville Observer reports that North Carolina Court of Appeals Judge John M. Tyson has been charged by citizen-initiated criminal summons with misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon after an incident on May 7 where he allegedly drove his SUV close to Black Lives Matter protesters standing near the Market House in downtown Fayetteville.  Video footage appears to show Tyson driving near the protesters while navigating a traffic circle in which they were standing, but footage of specific incident giving rise to the criminal charge has not been publicly released.

S.C. Execution Methods.  The Associated Press reports that a new law in South Carolina requires death row inmates to choose whether to be executed by electric chair or firing squad so that the state can resume executions following an involuntary 10-year pause caused by the expiration of the state’s supply lethal injection drugs in 2013 and subsequent difficulty obtaining resupply.  The AP article notes that South Carolina’s electric chair is 109 years old and that three people in the United States have been executed by firing squad since 1977.

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