‘I’m not releasing the video – This is done’: NC DA gets defensive after announcing no charges in police shooting
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...not 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:
The number of vaccinated House representatives has seemingly topped out, with more than half of Republicans refusing to disclose their status.
House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) claimed 75 percent of his party's members had been vaccinated in early March and called for the House to return to its pre-pandemic voting and committee rules, but several months later there's been no change in vaccination rates, according to the Washington Post's Paul Kane.
All 219 House Democrats told CNN they had been vaccinated, while only 95 of 211 GOP members will say whether they had been.
So, according to Kane, if vaccination rates had not risen high enough for the Democratic majority to lift pandemic safety rules, that's due to the Republican minority's refusal.
Polls have consistently shown a partisan divide in willingness to be vaccinated, with 41 percent of Republicans in one recent survey who don't plan to get the shots, compared with 4 percent of Democrats who say the same.
Republicans sure do have a lot of excuses for why the January 6 commission needs to be stalled! And, of course, Politico is here to present those excuses as if they were a series of sincere concerns, as opposed to transparent bad faith from people clearly engaged in a cover-up.
"Republicans not sold on bipartisan Jan. 6 commission," Politico's headline reads. In prose that doesn't have a hint of irony, reporters Burgess Everett, Marianne Levine, and Melanie Zanona write that, "Several Senate Republicans on Monday evening expressed worries" about the commission, and that these "worries" are leading them to look to "filibuster power" to "demand changes or bottle up the legislation altogether."
Cue laugh track.
Republicans are not worried, nor do they have concerns, nor do they wish to make modifications. What they want is to stop this commission from happening and the reason is singular and straightforward: They don't want to enshrine into history a narrative that paints Donald Trump and the insurrections in a negative light. As there is no way to speak about the facts of January 6 without making Trump or his anti-democratic cause look bad, Republicans would rather just avoid the discussion altogether.
But if you ask Republicans, they will never admit their real reasons, preferring instead to engage in a bunch of squirrelly excuses that don't make any sense, logically, or in some cases, grammatically.
Take for instance Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who complained that Democrats have to "broaden the inquiry in order to get 60 votes" because "there's more things wrong in this country than just [what] happened on January 6th," as if a single commission needs to solve all the nation's problems or it's not worth conducting. Then there is Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri who rolled out the confusing gambit that he fears the commission "will slow us down from some of the things we need to do with the Capitol Police and police board," trying to spin fact-finding and information-gathering as somehow too time-consuming to be bothered with. And who knows what Sen. John Cornyn of Texas is trying to say with this: "I mean, I'd be surprised if anything they find out about January 6th fully developed on that day. So I would not tie their hands."
Of course, some Senate Republicans —Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, anyone? — are making a big show out of how they might support a commission and how they supposedly want the truth about the insurrection to come out. But that's an easy stance to take when they can hide behind a filibuster that prevents them from taking a hard vote on a bill creating the commission. Republicans in the Senate are just offering words to fill the air so that they can sound like they are saying something while assiduously avoiding saying anything at all.
For House Republicans, who don't have the filibuster to prevent them from having to take a vote, pretending to be open-minded isn't an option. That's why the top Republican in the House is barely putting any effort into his bad faith excuses:
As I argued in Tuesday's Standing Room Only newsletter, Republicans are caught in a conundrum. On one hand, they quite clearly support Trump and, more importantly, the general anti-democratic goals of the insurrectionists. On the other hand, they don't like admitting as much to reporters and prefer instead to pretend that they find the politics of fascist insurrection distasteful.
It's unclear why Republicans care what reporters think when they're on apparently an unstoppable path to permanent minority rule. After all, Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Krysten Sinema of Arizona have made sure Democrats aren't doing anything to stop the GOP war on democracy. But, of course, it really isn't much of a cover-up if you admit you're engaged in a cover-up. And a cover-up is exactly what Republicans are engaged in, as they fight to make sure there's never any commission that looks into the insurrection that Trump incited on January 6. Instead, Republicans making incoherent excuses to Politico reporters, and Politico reporters writing down those incoherent excuses as if they were words that make sense.
No doubt then that the quickly calcifying Beltway wisdom, as evidenced by this credulous Politico article, is that it's some kind of #resistance hysterics to believe that the majority of congressional Republicans support Trump in his anti-democratic and insurrectionist goals. After all, many of them were quite clearly rattled by being attacked by a violent mob that was threatening to murder members of Congress, as well as then-Vice President Mike Pence. And, of course, few of them will say anything laudatory about the insurrection to reporters, instead pulling faces and acting as if they deplore such violence.
But when we look away from words to actions, the pro-insurrection pattern of the GOP becomes clear.
Even while the blood and broken glass from the Capitol riot was still on the floor, 147 congressional Republicans voted to back Trump's demands that the 2020 election results be thrown out. A few days later, the insurrectionist cause gained even more power over the GOP caucus, as all but 10 Republicans voted 'no' on impeaching Trump for his obvious incitement of the riot. A month later, 86% of Senate Republicans sided with the insurrectionists by voting to acquit Trump. The pro-insurrectionists have only solidified their support in the GOP caucus since then, which is why Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming was ousted from her leadership position by the majority of House Republicans, to punish her for continuing to insist that Trump's insurrection was a bad thing. In the months since the insurrection, multiple Republican leaders — including McCarthy — have made the pilgrimage to Mar-A-Lago to kiss the ring of the man who attempted to overthrow an election.
And that's just the GOP reaction to the riot itself. When it comes to the bigger picture — namely, Trump's lies about Joe Biden "stealing" the election and his two-and-a-half-month effort to pressure courts and election officials to steal the election for him — Republicans are even more enthusiastic, purging officials who stood in Trump's way, rewriting laws to make the next coup easier to pull off, and openly campaigning off of Trump's Big Lie for the 2022 election.
The myth of the reasonable, well-meaning Republican still has a powerful hold on the Beltway media. Because of this, Republicans continue to get away with pretending they're outraged by the January 6 riot, while actually shielding the instigator from any accountability and doing their damnedest to fill the goals of the insurrectionists. But there really should be no mystery about why Republicans keep finding excuses to cover for Trump and the insurrectionists: It's because they're complicit.
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