Black Lives Matter activists march in Wilmington in honor of Andrew Brown

Activists march in honor of Andrew Brown in Wilmington on April 29, 2021. (Photo: Matt Bennett/WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Black Lives Matter activists came together in Wilmington Thursday evening calling for justice for Andrew Brown, Jr.

A couple dozen people met at 1898 Memorial Park, and marched to city hall and back, calling for change.

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Brown was shot and killed on April 21 by Pasquotank County deputies serving drug-related search and arrest warrants.

“All over this country they’re killing black men, young black men, and this goes back to when I was a little boy watching the Ku Klux Klan do their thing,” said one attendee. “And here we are, a man shot in the head.”

A 2016 North Carolina law requires a court order to release body camera footage to the public. A judge has denied that request in Brown’s case, and his family has been able to view just 20 seconds of that video.

“I think it’s ridiculous and I think it’s unfair to the family,” said attendee Crystal Rook. “The family has a right to see the footage of the video so they will know what happened to their loved one.”

Activists are calling on lawmakers to pass House Bill 698, which would require body camera video to be released within 48 hours. They say it’s going to take everyone to make real change.

“Us European Americans are out here supporting this movement because this is not just a problem for African Americans, this is a human problem,” another attendee said.

Black Lives Matter of Wilmington leader Sonya Patrick organized the march, and says she hopes events like these will make a difference.

“It really shows the heart and soul of the American people here in Wilmington, that they do believe in justice,” Patrick said. “They don’t mind speaking out truth to power, and we’re going to come together as a nation and we’re not going to give up.”

The decision not to release the footage came yesterday after a prosecutor said that Brown had hit law enforcement officers with his car before they opened fire.

Judge Jeffrey Foster said the video could be released in 30 days, but had to be released within 45 days.

In the meantime, Brown’s son and an attorney will be allowed to see all of the video within 10 days.