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Federal lawsuit filed in US police fatal shooting of Andrew Brown

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A friend of Andrew Brown Jr., finishes a mural in his honor at the site where sheriff's deputies killed Brown in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, on US May 1, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

Family members of African-American victim, Andrew Brown, has filed a federal lawsuit against a North Carolina sheriff and several of his deputies, two months after they shot him in the head and drove away.

Attorneys for Brown's family made the announcement on Wednesday, saying the lawsuit seeks $30 million in damages.

"For Black folk in this country, justice is a verb," said family attorney Bakari Sellers at a news conference Wednesday. "And this is that first step in action."

“Anybody can see this was the unlawful killing of Andrew Brown," said attorney Harry Daniels.

Brown, 40, and the father of 10, was shot dead by police during an investigation in North Carolina in April.

He was struck with multiple bullets in the arm before the fatal shot to his head, according to his family lawyers.

An autopsy performed at the request of his family found that Brown was killed by a fatal bullet wound in the back of his head.

Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten confirmed at the time, one of his deputies fatally shot Brown in Elizabeth City near the Atlantic coast.

His tragic death sparked weeks of protests with a demand for transparency and police accountability in several US cities.

But the county District Attorney Andrew Womble declined in May to prosecute the officers who shot Brown.

He claimed at the time that the officers feared for their lives when Brown drove his car toward them.

A county medical examiner ruled Brown's death a homicide, back then.

Brown’s shooting took place a day after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd, who died in May 2020 after Chauvin placed his knee on the victim’s neck even as he pleaded, “I can't breathe.”

His final moments, which were filmed by a bystander, led to largescale protests in the US against police brutality and institutionalized racism against African-Americans and Asian-Americans.

The incidents of violence targeted at people of color in the US have seen an alarming surge in recent years, which many blame on former US president Donald Trump's racist rhetoric.

The organized violence has not only continued under the new administration, but has become worse, say observers.

The high number of African-Americans killed by the US police has sparked calls for broad reforms in policing.

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