North Carolina sheriff's deputies were "justified" in their fatal shooting of a black man in April because the man ignored their commands and drove his car directly at one of them before they fired any shots, a prosecutor said Tuesday. District Attorney Andrew Womble said none of the deputies involved would be criminally charged in the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr.
"The officers' actions were consistent with their training and fully supported under the law in protecting their lives and this community," Womble said during a press conference.
The district attorney said that Brown used his car as a "deadly weapon," causing Pasquotank County deputies to believe it was necessary to use deadly force.
The prosecutor said he would not release bodycam video of the confrontation between Brown and the law enforcement officers, which he can't do under North Carolina law, but he played portions of the video during the news conference. The video came from four body cameras worn by deputies during the shooting, CBS reports.
The three deputies involved in the shooting — Investigator Daniel Meads, Deputy Robert Morgan and Corporal Aaron Lewellyn — have been on leave since it happened. The sheriff's office said Morgan is Black while Meads and Lewellyn are White.
Four others who were at the scene were reinstated after the sheriff said they didn't fire their weapons.
The shooting has sparked protests over multiple weeks by demonstrators calling for the public release of the footage. While authorities have shown footage to Brown's family, a judge refused to release the video publicly as required by North Carolina law.
In a statement, the Brown family's attorneys said Womble was making an "attempt to whitewash this unjustified killing."