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NAACP, faith leaders call for Justice Department investigations in Andrew Brown's death

After a DA decided not to charge any deputies in the death of Andrew Brown, community leaders are calling for "pattern and practice" civil rights investigations.

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. — In Elizabeth City, one month after the shooting of Andrew Brown Jr., NAACP and community faith leaders called for a justice department "pattern and practice" civil rights investigations into Brown's death.

In a Tuesday press conference, District Attorney Andrew Womble ruled the shooting was justified and didn’t charge the deputies who killed Brown while trying to serve search and arrest warrants. 

NAACP activists are calling for an investigation into his office, and the Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office.

“In this community, it is a new day and we can not go back to business as usual," said Pasquotank County NAACP President Keith Rivers. "The longer this goes on, the more questions that we have. You can see the pattern, that’s why we need federal oversight in this case."

The FBI is already working on its own civil rights investigation of Andrew Brown’s death.

NAACP leaders said they disagreed with Womble's decision of a justified shooting, while collecting signatures for an informal petition to accompany a letter to federal officials calling for further investigation. 

“Sorry Womble, we don’t see what you see," said Reverend Dr. T Anthony Spearkman, president of the North Carolina Conference NAACP. "And this time, yours will not be the final word."

Advocates are asking the Department of Justice to open "pattern and practice" civil rights investigations – with the goal of reforming the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s office.

“We need it expedited, like right now," said Reverend Dr. William Barber.

Barber criticized Womble’s reasoning that deputies were "duty bound" to shoot Brown while he drove away.

“Why did he keep repeating, 'We couldn’t let him go?' This is not dead or alive. A warrant is not a license to kill," Barber said. 

Protesters signed an informal petition Friday, calling for federal action in the case.

The NAACP and faith leaders said the decision not to charge the deputies involved will embolden a frustrated community

“We are doing things the rightful way, we are doing things with direct action, nonviolent protests," said Rivers. "That shows you the integrity of this community."

Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten requested a new court hearing to release the body camera video of Brown’s death to the public on Tuesday. 

Court officials have yet to set a date or time for that hearing.

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