(CNN)Members of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP met with Justice Department officials Thursday to request that they investigate the April shooting death of Andrew Brown Jr.
Brown, a 42-year-old Black man, was fatally shot by Pasquotank County deputies in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, as they were attempting to serve a warrant for his arrest. Nearly a month after Brown’s death, Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble concluded that the shooting — which Brown’s family classifies as an execution — was justified, saying Brown “recklessly” drove at the officers on scene while trying to flee arrest.
“Mr. Brown’s death, while tragic, was justified because Mr. Brown’s actions caused three deputies to reasonably believe it was necessary to use deadly force to protect themselves and others,” Womble said.
Nearly three dozen delegates of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP traveled to Washington, DC, on Thursday to hand-deliver a letter that requests a pattern or practice civil rights investigation by the Justice Department, signed by thousands of community members, clergy and lawmakers. They want the Justice Department to probe the sheriff’s office and the district attorney’s office.
Anthony Coley, a Justice Department spokesman, confirmed the meeting had taken place Thursday. The department has not announced whether it will open a pattern or practice investigation. To date, it has five such investigations pending.
The FBI had separately announced a federal civil rights investigation in April.
“The local District Attorney’s description of his interpretation of the law of deadly force as applied to the circumstances here, leaves our community with urgent questions about the commitment to government protection of Black people’s civil rights, and our safety in our community,” according to the letter, dated May 24, from the North Carolina NAACP to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco and Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta.
While Garland wasn’t scheduled to be in the meeting Thursday with nearly a d
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