ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. – Demonstrators once again rallied in the wake of Andrew Brown Jr.’s shooting death, but Friday’s protest was much different.
After days of peacefully marching through the streets, protesters gave their feet a break. About 100 people gathered at the Public Safety Building to have a cookout with food and music.
About 100 community members gathering in the parking lot of the Public Safety building for a cookout as they continue their calls for transparency and justice following Andrew Brown Jr’s shooting death by Pasquotank Co. sheriff’s deputies.@WTKR3 pic.twitter.com/Kptau07BBo— Antoinette DelBel (@AnnieDelBel) April 30, 2021
They wanted to have some fun, but their fight for change remains in the forefront.
“My hope is that they will see the immediacy of some change needing to happen,” said North Carolina NAACP President T. Anthony Spearman.
Community members stood in solidarity for the 10th straight day since the shooting. The 42-year-old father was shot and killed by Pasquotank County Sheriff’s deputies last week.
Barrett Wilson said he grew up with Brown.
“That’s shock and hurt,” Wilson said. “That hurt my heart. That hurt me when they killed him like that. I just want the family to get justice.”
Wilson said Brown was a kind person.
“He had a good heart,” he said. “He’s got a heart just like me. Nice. He’d give you his last if he’d had it.”
Though the day wasn’t filled with the fervent chants filling the streets in days past, the calls for transparency, accountability and better policing were still very much part of the larger conversation reverberating across the nation.
“They want us to fear them,” said Dionna Lewis of Elizabeth City. “That’s why they come out in riot gear, but they’re just human like we are, and we want them to see that we’re human and we’re not afraid of them.”
The rally kicked off around 6:30 p.m. and ended around 10:30 p.m.
A shorter curfew, which now runs from midnight to 6 a.m., went into effect Friday. Anyone wishing to protest or gather must fill out the proper paperwork, according to city officials.