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Pasquotank County forms civilian review board a year after controversial police shooting

In April 2021, a Black man from Elizabeth City was shot to death by Pasquotank County Sheriff’s deputies. The shooting triggered protests.
Photo via Unsplash. In 2021, a Pasquotank County Sheriff's deputy fatally shot Andrew Brown. Brown's family has since filed a civil lawsuit regarding his death.

Pasquotank County officials unveiled plans for a new review board overseeing the county's sheriff's office.

The board, called the Citizens Advisory Council, will review citizen complaints against sheriff’s deputies and hear appeals from sheriff’s office employees who have been disciplined. 

It will also review internal policies and participate in the hiring process.

The board will be able to make recommendations to the sheriff after reviews, but won’t have disciplinary powers of its own, similar to the boards in four other North Carolina cities, said County Manager Sparty Hammett.

The council’s creation comes almost a year after county deputies shot and killed Andrew Brown Jr., a Black man from Elizabeth City, as he tried to drive away while they served a warrant.

Brown’s killing sparked protests and criticism of the department. Several deputies resigned in the aftermath.

A local prosecutor ruled the shooting was justified, saying deputies who’d surrounded Brown’s car “reasonably believed” they were in danger.

Brown’s family has since filed a wrongful death suit, calling his death an “execution.”

The 13-person review board will have its first meeting next month. The board's bylaws are still in the works.

Ryan is WHRO’s business and growth reporter. He joined the newsroom in 2021 after eight years at local newspapers, the Daily Press and Virginian-Pilot. Ryan is a Chesapeake native and still tries to hold his breath every time he drives through the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel.

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