North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper Urges Feds to 'Thoroughly Investigate' Andrew Brown Jr. Death

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said the investigation into Andrew Brown Jr.'s death should continue after a local district attorney announced he would not be filing charges against the deputies involved in the fatal shooting.

"Federal officials should continue to thoroughly investigate the shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. in Elizabeth City," Cooper said in a statement. "Public confidence would have been better served with a special prosecutor and by quickly making public the incident footage. Our state should pass specific laws to increase transparency, confidence and accountability in the justice system."

The FBI confirmed last month it had opened a federal civil rights investigation into the killing of Brown, a 42-year-old Black man who was killed on April 21 while officers were executing search and arrest warrants at his home.

Cooper had previously urged a special prosecutor to take over the case in late April, saying it would reassure the family and the community that the probe was conducted without any bias.

But Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble—who on Tuesday said the three sheriff's deputies who fired at Brown were "justified" in their actions—dismissed the idea of a special prosecutor.

"I'm elected by the people of the First District to do exactly this job," Womble told reporters in a news conference Tuesday. "A special prosecutor, or outside counsel, is not accountable to the people of this judicial district.

Womble also announced Tuesday he determined that no charges would be filed against the law enforcement officers, stating that the deputies had reason to believe they were in danger.

"The actions were consistent with the training and fully supported under the law in protecting their lives and this community," the district attorney said.

Brown was attempting to drive his car away from the officers when they started firing, Womble said. Asked if the officers should have let Brown drive away and arrested him later, the district attorney said they "simply couldn't let him go."

New body camera footage played for reporters on Tuesday showed the 44-second incident, during which Brown's car went in reverse before moving forward toward at least one deputy. The deputy fired at the windshield, but Brown's car continued to drive across the lawn. Deputies continued shooting at the back of the vehicle, which stopped when it hit a tree.

Womble said 14 shots were fired by the three deputies, and Brown was hit twice: in the shoulder and in the back of the head.

Roy Cooper Urges Feds Investigate Brown Shooting
Protesters march after a news conference addressing police video footage of the shooting death of Andrew Brown Jr. on May 11, in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. On Wednesday, Governor Roy Cooper said the investigation into Brown's death should continue after a local district attorney announced he would not be filing charges against the deputies involved. Sean Rayford/Getty Images

The Brown family's attorneys said in a statement Tuesday that Womble's decision was an "attempt to whitewash this unjustified killing."

"To say this shooting was justified, despite the known facts, is both an insult and a slap in the face to Andrew's family, the Elizabeth City community, and to rational people everywhere," the statement read. " "Not only was the car moving away from officers, but four of them did not fire their weapons — clearly they did not feel that their lives were endangered."

The attorneys also demanded that the court release the full body camera video of the incident, as well as the State Bureau of Investigation report on the fatal arrest.

The Rev. Al Sharpton also responded to Womble's decision by calling for federal officials and a special prosecutor to take over the case.

"Elizabeth City DA Womble who is running for Superior Court Judge gave a bizarre and unconvincing defense of not charging Police for shooting Andrew Brown, Jr. In the back of head! The Feds and a Special Prosecutor is clearly needed," Sharpton wrote in a Twitter post on Tuesday afternoon.

Newsweek reached out to Womble for comment on Cooper's statement but didn't receive a response before publication.