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In Elizabeth City, 2 narratives compete to define Andrew Brown Jr.

Josh Shaffer and Tyler Dukes, The News & Observer on

Published in News & Features

“Somebody said he had a record,” said the Rev. William Barber II, speaking at Brown’s funeral. “Well, Moses had a record, but he was a strong and courageous man. David had a record, but he was a strong and courageous man. He wasn’t some scared brother — not Andrew. He cared for his own, he fought for his children ... He loved his people. Was he perfect? No. But just in case the world needs to know, would the perfect person please stand up so we can see you?”

No one stood.

“That’s what I thought,” Barber said.


Brown’s record shows several misdemeanor charges of “resisting a public officer,” but no accusations of assaulting an officer. Daniel Fogg, chief deputy of the Pasquotank County sheriff’s department, said a felony warrant being served on a suspect with a record indicates a high risk of danger.

But Brown’s history shows little that could be described as violent and nothing involving a gun.


“He didn’t like guns,” his cousin Ferebee said. “Like ever. Period. So when this happened, I knew he didn’t have a gun.”

Brown was raising 10 kids. His Facebook page shows the youngest getting ready to go to the zoo and the barbershop.

He had skipped around Elizabeth City for years in short-term housing, until about three months ago when his Aunt Sandra White said he asked her an important question: Do you know anybody who will rent me a house?

“I want to get my kids,” he told his aunt. “I need my kids.”


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