ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. – North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein visited Mount Lebanon A.M.E Zion Church in Elizabeth City, just 68 days after Andrew Brown Jr. was shot killed by Pasquotank sheriff deputies.
“I’m so grateful for this strong community. I think its important that we meet in the house of god to talk about the word justice,” Governor Roy Cooper said during a Sunday church service.
Governor Cooper went on to say, “In this community the unnecessary killing of Andrew Brown Jr. I’ve heard descriptions of fear about traffic stops about not being able to see all the video that should be available from the incident that occurred that day and about not getting justice in the case of Andrew Brown Jr.”
Governor Cooper says he’s appointed two task forces to prevent racial inequity in criminal justice in situations similar to Brown’s.
“Recommendations like those kinds of videos must be published. That’s when there is an officer involved in a shooting, there must be an independent prosecutor to look at a case.”
Governor Cooper had a private meeting after the church service with the NAACP, community members and protesters inside of the church.
“I thought it was an outstanding conversation.” Keith Rivers said, the president of the Pasquotank County NAACP chapter.
Rivers says Governor Cooper, the NAACP and community members discussed Sheriff Wooten releasing the names and addresses of protesters on his Facebook page. This comes after twelve protesters who live in Pasquotank County reported being harassed and having their names released on Facebook by another individual.
On Friday, Sheriff Tommy Wooten posted a press release on his Facebook detailing an alleged “filing of a false report” by twelve Pasquotank residents. According to the release, twelve Pasquotank County citizens filed a report after they were harassed and threatened on Facebook by another individual. In Sheriff Wooten’s posted press release on Facebook, the names and addresses were released of the protesters that filed the report.
After a further investigation by the sheriff’s office, they say the complainants provided “an inaccurate representation of the Facebook post.”
The Facebook post submitted by the twelve protesters stated, “we have their names, let’s get them fired instead.”
Following the investigation, the Sheriff’s office alleges the actual post states: “We have their names, lets get them fired instead.”
The sheriff’s office issued the reporting parties with criminal summons for filing a false police report.
“What Sheriff issues a criminal summons for people who come to you for help or protection and then you post that on a Facebook page, there names and addresses. That is clearly almost sending out a message on who to target,” Rivers said.
Rivers says Governor Cooper mentioned in the private meeting that his office is going to look into the matter.
“They’re going to go back and look at some of the things that the sheriff’s department has clearly done. That is not what the Sheriff is elected to do and the Governor heard that. The governor made his statement and position clear. So did the attorney general and I thought the meeting was outstanding,” Rivers said.
News 3 reached out to Sheriff Wooten office and he did no respond to our request.
A protester who attended the private meeting says the meeting was needed.
“We paying our taxes to pay for these people that are suppose to protect us and they telling us they’re not going to protect us then they’re gonna put our name and address out there and I’m not surprised that they haven’t put more of us out there,” Cherry Morrison said.