Local NAACP responds to dash cam release

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The Person County Branch of the NAACP released this statement last night, signed by chapter president Avie Lester Sr.

"At the request of the family of Mr. David Brooks, Jr, the leadership of the Person County NAACP met with the District Attorney, and other Judicial Officers at the County Courthouse, and reviewed the portions of the dash-cam video which the Roxboro Police turned over to the D.A. After the NAACP Executive Committee was consulted, the Person County NAACP issued this statement today. We will add to this statement, as we collect more evidence about the case.

— The NAACP respectfully and strongly requests the formation of a Person County Truth Commission, including at least two members of the Person County NAACP Branch and other trusted county leaders, be formed immediately.

— This PC Truth Commission should be charged with assisting the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) in the N.C. Attorney General’s office, which we believe will be ordered to investigate the long and short histories of the interactions between any members of the Roxboro Police Department (RPD) and Mr. Brooks, a familiar figure in town walking on the side of the road where he was killed.

— The NAACP is, unfortunately, quite familiar with the lengthy time and the limited scope of this type of SBI investigation. In this time of COVID-19 protocols, we believe the SBI report to the D.A. will not be forthcoming until for several months. We are concerned the investigation of the 3-4 seconds of interactions between two RPD officers and Mr. Brooks will be limited, and will not include actions taken by the RPD before and after the shooting that may have violated Mr. Brooks’ constitutional rights to equal protection of the law, in both the criminal and civil contexts.

— The NAACP is aware Mr. Brooks carried this same gun on this same route many times. He had been previously approached by officers who allowed him to carry this same gun without interference.

— The NAACP is aware the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment allows citizens to own, possess, carry and use firearms without interference from state authority. Mr. Brooks had his firearm strapped to his shoulder, exactly like the people who love to carry their high-powered military weapons strapped to their shoulders in populated urban settings. North Carolina law allows individuals to openly carry a weapon in public, unless there are signs to the contrary. The NAACP has repeated endorsed safe and sane public health approaches to reducing gun violence, but we are strongly opposed to unequal protection of the law. The fact an African-American carried a weapon strapped to his shoulder which the police had previously permitted, standing alone, is not evidence the person is dangerous or engaged in criminal conduct. As the Second Amendment is presently interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court, the RPD had a duty to respect his right to carry it.

— The NAACP supports the Black Lives Movement, and this 4-second judge/jury shooting illustrates the critical need for de-escalation training.

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