The Pasquotank County, North Carolina District Attorney announced Tuesday he will not be filing charges against police officers who shot Andrew Brown, Jr., an unarmed 42-year old Black man, in the head, killing him while serving an arrest warrant on April 21. After holding a lengthy press conference Andrew Womble became defensive when asked about releasing the video, and later when asked how he could make a decision to not charge officers when all the facts are not in.
“I’m not releasing the video, this is done,” Womble told reporters. “Anything in my office is not public record by statute.”
The Associated Press adds: “Womble, who showed portions of the video at the news conference, said Tuesday that he would not release the video.”
Womble reportedly has a total of about two hours of video from police body cams, but only allowed the family of Andrew Brown, Jr. to see less than 20 minutes worth. He showed a very small portion of video on Tuesday to support his decision to not file charges against any of the officers.
Womble went on to say that any release of the video would have to be done through the court, but when asked if he had requested the video be released he said he had not.
“You can not swing a skunk in front of a group of people then ask them not to smell it,” Womble said last month.
On Tuesday Womble told reporters, “Mr. Brown’s death, while tragic, was justified, because Mr. Brown’s actions caused three deputies with the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office to reasonably believe it was necessary to use deadly force to protect themselves and others.”
After urging the public to not “jump to conclusions until all the facts are out,” one reporter reminded Womble he had just admitted he did not have all the facts.
“Do you think all the facts are out?” the reporter said. “You told us that you don’t know how fast the car was going, whether the car was decelerating or accelerating. And the still images you showed us told a different story, before the first shot was fired. Once you put the video in motion, it looked like Brown was turning away from the officer.”
“I’m sorry, your question is?” Womble, defensively replied.
“How do you respond to that?” the reporter posited.
“What was the question?” Womble again replied.
“Are you sure all the facts are in?” the reporter continued. “You said you don’t know if the car was decelerating or accelerating.”
“I know that all of the facts that I needed to make this decision are in,” Womble replied.
“Isn’t that important?” the reporter pressed. “That’s important. If you look at the video. If you look at the video in motion, it looks like he’s turning away before the first shot is fired, that’s important.”
“Sir, there are several cases,” Womble said defensively, “there’s a litany of cases in our American jurisprudence where shots are fired into still cars, cars that aren’t moving. So, the speed at which Mr. Brown is moving at the officers…notv relevant in my determination.”
The reporter said if Brown had hit the brakes, “isn’t that important?”
Womble refused to answer and went to another reporter.
The full video of Womble’s press conference is here:
Al Sharpton weighed in:
Elizabeth City DA Womble who is running for Superior Court Judge gave a bizarre and unconvincing defense of not charging Police for shooting Andrew Brown, Jr. In the back of head! The Feds and a Special Prosecutor is clearly needed.
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) May 18, 2021
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Bipartisan Moderate Senators Announce Agreement on Infrastructure Focused on No Tax Increases for the Wealthy
A bipartisan group of moderate Senators, five Democrats and five Republicans, have just announced agreement on an infrastructure bill focused on not raising taxes on the wealthy. The outlines of the package would be $1.2 trillion, but only $579 billion in new spending.
President Joe Biden’s original proposal was for a $2.3 trillion package that including tax increases on the wealthiest Americans. After Republicans refused he dropped it to $1.7 trillion, but again Republicans refused. Biden again came down, offering a stripped down $1 trillion package that would be paid for, at least in part, by forcing companies that pay no federal income taxes, like Amazon, to have to pay taxes.
Republicans again refused and earlier this week President Biden ended negotiations with Republican Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, saying he would focus on moderate Senators instead. The White House was reportedly not consulted on this agreement.
The group of Senators includes:
Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Jon Tester (D-MT), Mark Warner (D-VA).
In a statement they say they have “worked in good faith and reached a bipartisan agreement on a realistic compromise framework to modernize our nation’s infrastructure and energy technologies.”
“This investment would be fully paid for and not include tax increases,” which appears to be the goal of the agreement.
NEW: The Senate group of 5 Democrats and 5 Republicans says they have “reached a bipartisan agreement on a realistic, compromise framework” on infrastructure:
They say the plan would be “fully paid for” without tax increases pic.twitter.com/T3Il67bp72
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) June 10, 2021
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
MSNBC’s Morning Joe Rips Apart Report on Trump’s Infamous Lafayette Park Photo Op
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough ripped apart the excuses offered by a Donald Trump appointee about his infamous June 1, 2020, photo op at Lafayette Square.
Federal agents fired chemical irritants at peaceful protesters ahead of the visit, where Trump held up a Bible in front of a historic church, but the Interior Department’s inspector general found the park was cleared so a contractor could install fencing, and the “Morning Joe” host was skeptical that then-attorney general William Barr would have been involved in mundane decisions about park maintenance.
“He could be the director for scaffolding of Lafayette Park, I apologize to William Barr,” Scarborough said. “I didn’t know he could try to undermine Jeffersonian democracy, undercut 220 years of checks and balances, and be responsible for scaffolding in Lafayette Park. If that’s the case, I apologize. But if not, then again, we look at the part where he comes out before Trump comes out, and he asks this question. ‘Are these people still going to be here when POTUS comes out?'” Scarborough said. “The operations commander replies to Mr. Barr, ‘Are you freaking kidding me?’ He then hung his head and walked away, the report said, and soon after the new director of scaffolding for Lafayette Park came out and in no uncertain terms told them to clear the park before Donald Trump came out, the violent confrontation began.”
“Children, take from that bedtime story or morning story, anything you want to take from it,” he continued. “But actually, if you use your mind — by the way, I apologize, that [Bible is] not upside down, that’s backwards. He’s [Trump] holding the bible backwards. As a certain Oklahoma senator said, I’ve been going to Sunday school for 50 years, and I’ve never seen anyone hold a Bible that way. But if it makes you feel better seizing on to a report that doesn’t cover the entire event and completely ignoring what the director of scaffolding for Lafayette Park said, you go with that.”
“But that’s awfully thin gruel,” Scarborough added, “if that’s what you’re relying on, awfully thin gruel. Good luck with that.”
‘Point of No Return’ and ‘Crazy’: Trump White House Counsel Don McGahn’s Judiciary Committee Testimony Just Released
The House Judiciary Committee has just released the 241-page transcript of testimony given last week by former Trump White House Counsel Don McGahn.
“All told, Mr. McGahn’s testimony gives us a fresh look at how dangerously close President Trump brought us to, in Mr. McGahn’s words, the ‘point of no return,’” Chairman Jerry Nadler says.
In one point McGahn is questioned about his remarks that President Donald Trump asked him to do some “crazy shit.”
In the transcript, House Judiciary Oversight Counsel Sarah Istel asks McGahn to read a sentence from prior testimony. This starts with McGahn saying “Okay”:
A Okay. Priebus recalled that McGahn said that the President asked him to do, quote, “do crazy shit,” unquote, but he thought McGahn did not tell him the specifics of the President’s request because McGahn was trying to protect Priebus from what he did not need to know.
Q So, even if you don’t recall saying those specific words, is that a fair characterization of how you viewed the President’s request?
A Well, the President probably thinks this is an unfair characterization, but I —
Q I’m asking for your opinion.
A — think — I think it’s fair.
Q Can you just repeat that for the record? You think it’s fair?
A I think it’s fair.
Q Thank you.
You can read the document below, or at the House Judiciary website (PDF download).
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