Evidence & Justice

There is evidence gathered over a few minutes, much of it in the form of bodycam video recording, of vital importance in the outcome of a possible court case. News media organizations emphasize this. There is other evidence, some in the form of still photos and video recordings of events, of vital importance in helping to shed light on the murder of thousands of people in the United States in a single day. News media organizations do not emphasize this; they bury it or bar it altogether.

Last week, 42-year-old Andrew Brown Jr., a black father of seven, was shot dead in Elizabth City, North Carolina, as sheriff’s deputies tried to serve a warrant for his arrest. The car he had been driving reportedly first came into contact with one of the deputies and then with another, but at the time of the fatal gunshot he reportedly had two hands on the steering wheel and the car was stationary. Injuries to the deputies, if any, were not reported.

This occurred on Wednesday, April 21. At issue today, a week later, is whether a judge would release to the public body cam video of the incident, some of which members of Brown’s family were allowed to see.

An NPR “Morning Edition” segment today, headlined “N.C. Court Considers Release of Bodycam Video, Brown Family Releases Autopsy,” is HERE (scroll down for it).

CNN’s coverage this afternoon, headlined “Andrew Brown shooting: Judge denies media request for videos, but allows family to view reccordings,” is HERE.

This is a national story — one of many like it — and will continue to be. Available video recordings in a number of fatal shootings of blacks by law enforcement personnel have been routinely part of the cases in 2020 this and 2021. Some are decisive in court.

The Elizabeth City incident is sketched here because the FBI and the Department of Justice have withheld considerable evidence from the public about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in the United States. It has been classified for nearly 20 years. When in September 2018 the U.S. Senate resolved unanimously that it should be declassified, this was news nowhere — not in the New York Times, not in the Washington Post, not in the Associated Press, nowhere. HERE is some coverage, though. HERE is later coverage.

What is going on?

— Mark Channing Miller

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