Andrew Brown Jr.'s Family Sues Deputies Involved in North Carolina Shooting for $30M

The family of Andrew Brown Jr., an unarmed Black man who was shot and killed by sheriff's deputies in North Carolina, filed a $30 million civil rights lawsuit for his death Wednesday. The suit, filed in an eastern North Carolina federal court, claims he died from the officers' "intentional and reckless disregard of his life," the Associated Press reported.

Brown died on April 21 while Pasquotank County Sheriff's deputies were serving drug-related warrants at his home, the Associated Press reported. While Brown was in his BMW, deputies surrounded the car, which he backed up and moved forward.

The deputies then fired multiple gun shots at the car, and Brown was killed by a bullet that struck him in the back of the head, the Associated Press reported.

"All individual defendants did so with shocking and willful indifference to Brown's rights and with conscious awareness that it could cause Brown severe bodily harm or death," the lawsuit said.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Andrew Brown Jr
The family Andrew of Brown Jr., an unarmed Black man who was fatally shot by sheriff's deputies in North Carolina, filed a $30 million civil rights lawsuit on Wednesday. In this May 3 file photo Rev. Al Sharpton speaks during the funeral for Andrew Brown Jr., at Fountain of Life Church in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Gerry Broome/AP Photo

The filing is the latest in a string of federal civil rights lawsuits in the wake of high-profile police shootings of Black and brown people. Many have ended in settlements that often include money but specify there was no admission of guilt. Some end up in court where a jury can award massive settlements that are whittled down on appeal.

The family of George Floyd, who was killed in Minneapolis police custody last year, agreed to a $27 million settlement in March. In September, the city of Louisville, Kentucky, agreed to pay Breonna Taylor's family $12 million and reform police practices.

The lawsuit in North Carolina was filed by Brown's paternal aunt, Lillie Brown Clark, who is the administrator for his estate. The suit says the 42-year-old was the father of seven children.

Defendants include Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten II and several deputies. Wooten's office did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Attorneys for Brown's family have repeatedly said he was trying to get away and posed no threat to the deputies who approached his vehicle. Authorities have said he was using his car as a "deadly weapon" and caused deputies to believe it was necessary to use deadly force.

District Attorney Andrew Womble cleared the deputies in May. He said they were justified because Brown had struck a deputy with his car and nearly ran him over while ignoring commands to show his hands and get out of the vehicle.

The federal lawsuit is the latest fallout from shooting, which has sent shockwaves through the small city in northeastern North Carolina.

Residents have routinely gathered in protest. One of the deputies who fired his gun at Brown's car has resigned. The FBI also launched a civil rights investigation into the death.

The shooting has also drawn scrutiny from outside law enforcement observers who say police officers should not shoot at a vehicle when there is no other deadly threat besides the car.

Andrew Brown Jr. Rally
District Attorney Andrew Womble cleared the deputies involved in the Andrew Brown Jr. shooting in May. Protestors march in the street after a news conference addressing police video footage of the shooting death of Andrew Brown Jr. on May 11 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Sean Rayford/Getty Images