Facebook posts by the judge who blocked the public release of bodycam video footage from Andrew Brown Jr.‘s police killing last week suggest he harbors pro-police bias.
A review of activity on the social network by North Carolina Superior Court Judge Jeffery Foster shows that he once even had some kind words about George Zimmerman, the vigilante killer of an unarmed Black teenager in Florida.
The years-old posts may provide a glimpse into the mind of a man who was adamant about only having Brown’s family and their attorneys see the bodycam footage — a move that in the short term seems to provide protection and cover for the police department at the center of the shooting.
The Root’s Michael Harriot brought attention first to Foster’s questionable Facebook posts.
In addition to a decidedly pro-police Facebook post, Foster weighed in on the acquittal of Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who was charged with murder for killing Trayvon Martin in 2012. Zimmerman, who racially profiled Martin and followed him against the advice of the police before shooting the 17-year-old, claimed he was defending himself under the state’s controversial Stand Your Ground law. Six jurors ultimately reached a “not guilty” verdict in Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial in 2013.
It was in that context that Foster took to Facebook to applaud the decision.
“He should have never been charged,” Foster wrote about Zimmerman the day after he was acquitted. “The jury did the right thing. Fox News got it right again.”
In another telling sign of where his law enforcement loyalties lie, Foster — a graduate of East Carolina University (ECU) — declared on Facebook in 2016 that he thought kneeling during the playing of the national anthem was “repugnant.” Foster admitted that he supported the “right” to do so, but he apparently draws the line at anyone kneeling while wearing an ECU uniform, like the marching band.
Foster called that “disrespectful in the eyes of many under the color of the University” and “an abuse of their position of privilege” that is “uncalled for and offensive and should be answered to.”
He added later: “their right to protest their beliefs is not appropriate while they are in those uniforms on that field. Period. And they should lose the privilege of marching there again.”
It can’t be overlooked that the kneeling protest was pioneered by pro football free agent Colin Kaepernick, who began taking a knee on the sidelines while the “Star-Spangled Banner” played as a way to bring attention to police violence against Black people — the same kind of violence Brown’s family alleged he was the victim of and that police are trying to cover up. Kaepernick was later blacklisted from the NFL.
By siding with the police’s insistence of keeping the bodycam video private and decidedly moving away from transparency, Foster’s ruling was consistent with both his feelings about Zimmerman and the kneeling protest.
All of the above makes it no surprise that in September — smack dab in the middle of ongoing national protests against police violence that routinely leaves unarmed Black people dead — Foster posted to his Facebook page a photo of the so-called “thin blue line,” a pro-police image that is supposed to represent the thin line between life and death that police officers face on the job.
Foster did rule on Wednesday that Brown’s family would be able to view the video within 10 days of his decision. But he also delayed the public release of the video by up to 45 days, giving police even more of an opportunity to possibly edit or otherwise alter the footage.
In Pasquotank County, body camera footage cannot be released without a court order.
Brown’s family member and their attorneys have suggested there is a coverup at play by the police who are trying to conceal evidence of their misconduct and wrongdoing in the April 21 shooting.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump said Monday that if the video showed Brown doing something wrong, police would have eagerly made the footage public.
Police can’t “sweep this under the rug,” Crump said Monday, emphasizing how taxpayers who voted for local police officers to wear body cams should be resentful that the footage won’t be released “when it’s most critically needed.”
In the meantime, the FBI has opened up a civil rights investigation into the shooting.
Results from an independent autopsy made public on Tuesday showed that Brown — who was driving away from police when he was shot — was killed from a penetrating gunshot wound to the head.
Police have not said whether Brown was armed. On Wednesday, prosecutors told Foster in court and claimed for the first time that Brown had been the aggressor and used his car to ram the vehicles of deputies who were trying to serve him with a search warrant.
Brown’s family and attorneys, who as of Wednesday had only seen an edited 20-second “snippet” of the bodycam video, said that claim was inconsistent with what they saw on the footage.
Family attorney Wayne Kendall said Brown was shot a total of five times.
“The first, initial shots were through the front windshield of the vehicle,” Kendall said, describing Brown as having “his arms up on the steering wheel” — an indication that he was neither armed nor posing a threat to the officers.
Brown was shot four times in his right arm, but “they were not fatal shots,” Kendall said, explaining he was still able to reverse and turn around his car before continuing to try and flee.
“At that time he was hit in the back of the head,” Kendall said. “That is the fatal bullet wound. A penetrating bullet wound to the skull.”
Kendall called it “a straight up execution” while noting that shooting into a moving vehicle that doesn’t pose a mortal threat is a violation of police policy.
After the police killed Brown, Fox News attempted to assassinate his character in death by reporting that the search warrant in question said an informant allegedly bought illegal drugs from Brown for more than a year. Brown has “a criminal rap sheet over 180 pages long and dating back to May 1988,” Fox News wrote.
But, of course, whether true or not, that information is irrelevant and certainly did not pose or create a threat to the lives of the officers who shot at a man who was reportedly only holding a steering wheel at the time he was killed.
Not to mention, there were no reports of drugs — or guns — being found in Brown’s car, making Fox News’ report the very definition of irrelevant. In fact, if there was anything illegal being done by Brown or on his person or in his car, the Fox News article would have prominently mentioned it. So would the cops. But in a telling sign more than a week after the shooting, that has not happened.
What has happened is that seven Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies have been put on leave, two resigned, one retired after the shooting, all of their faces have been obscured on the redacted bodycam video footage and none of their names have been made public.
This is America.
110 Black Men And Boys Killed By Police
1. Ashton Pinke, 271 of 110
2. Andrew Brown, 422 of 110
3. Matthew Williams, 353 of 110
4. Daunte Wright, 20Source:Twitter/@MeritLaw 4 of 110
5. Marvin D. Scott III, 26Source:GoFundMe 5 of 110
6. Kurt Reinhold, 42Source:Getty 6 of 110
7. McHale Rose, 197 of 110
8. Xzavier Hill, 18Source:Change.org 8 of 110
9. Frederick Cox, 18Source:Facebook/Tenicka Shannon 9 of 110
10. Patrick Warren Sr.Source:Patrick Warren Jr. 10 of 110
11. Carl Dorsey III, 3911 of 110
12. Dolal Idd, 23Source:GoFundMe 12 of 110
13. Andre' Hill, 4713 of 110
14. Joshua Feast14 of 110
15. Maurice GordonSource:Mercury LLC 15 of 110
16. Casey Goodson Jr.Source:Walton + Brown, LLP 16 of 110
17. Rodney ApplewhiteSource:Ben Crump 17 of 110
18. A.J. Crooms18 of 110
19. Sincere Pierce19 of 110
20. Walter Wallace Jr.20 of 110
21. Marcellis Stinnette, teen killed by police in Waukegan, IllinoisSource:Twitter 21 of 110
22. Jonathan Price22 of 110
23. Deon Kay23 of 110
24. Daniel Prude24 of 110
25. Damian Daniels25 of 110
26. Dijon Kizzee26 of 110
27. Trayford PellerinSource:GoFundMe 27 of 110
28. David McAtee28 of 110
29. Natosha “Tony” McDade29 of 110
30. George Floyd30 of 110
31. Yassin Mohamed31 of 110
32. Finan H. Berhe32 of 110
33. Sean ReedSource:Twitter 33 of 110
34. Steven Demarco TaylorSource:S. Lee Merritt 34 of 110
35. Ariane McCreeSource:The Herald/YouTube 35 of 110
36. Terrance Franklin36 of 110
37. Miles HallSource:KRON4 37 of 110
38. Darius TarverSource:S. Lee Merritt 38 of 110
39. William Green39 of 110
40. Samuel David Mallard, 1940 of 110
41. Kwame "KK" Jones, 17Source:facebook 41 of 110
42. De’von Bailey, 1942 of 110
43. Christopher Whitfield, 3143 of 110
44. Anthony Hill, 2644 of 110
45. De'Von Bailey, 1945 of 110
46. Eric Logan, 5446 of 110
47. Jamarion Robinson, 2647 of 110
48. Gregory Hill Jr., 3048 of 110
49. JaQuavion Slaton, 2049 of 110
50. Ryan Twyman, 2450 of 110
51. Brandon Webber, 2051 of 110
52. Jimmy Atchison, 2152 of 110
53. Willie McCoy, 2053 of 110
54. Emantic "EJ" Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 2154 of 110
55. D’ettrick Griffin, 1855 of 110
56. Jemel Roberson, 26Source:false 56 of 110
57. DeAndre Ballard, 23Source:false 57 of 110
58. Botham Shem Jean, 26Source:false 58 of 110
59. Antwon Rose Jr., 17Source:false 59 of 110
60. Robert Lawrence White, 41Source:false 60 of 110
61. Anthony Lamar Smith, 24Source:Getty 61 of 110
62. Ramarley Graham, 18Source:Getty 62 of 110
63. Manuel Loggins Jr., 31Source:Getty 63 of 110
64. Trayvon Martin, 17Source:Getty 64 of 110
65. Wendell Allen, 20Source:Getty 65 of 110
66. Kendrec McDade, 19Source:Getty 66 of 110
67. Larry Jackson Jr., 32Source:Getty 67 of 110
68. Jonathan Ferrell, 24Source:Getty 68 of 110
69. Jordan Baker, 26Source:Getty 69 of 110
70. Victor White lll, 22Source:Getty 70 of 110
71. Dontre Hamilton, 31Source:Getty 71 of 110
72. Eric Garner, 43Source:Getty 72 of 110
73. John Crawford lll, 22Source:Getty 73 of 110
74. Michael Brown, 18Source:Getty 74 of 110
75. Ezell Ford, 25Source:Getty 75 of 110
76. Dante Parker, 36Source:Getty 76 of 110
77. Kajieme Powell, 25Source:Getty 77 of 110
78. Laquan McDonald, 17Source:Getty 78 of 110
79. Akai Gurley, 28Source:Getty 79 of 110
80. Tamir Rice, 12Source:Getty 80 of 110
81. Rumain Brisbon, 34Source:Getty 81 of 110
82. Jerame Reid, 36Source:Getty 82 of 110
83. Charly Keunang, 43Source:Getty 83 of 110
84. Tony Robinson, 19Source:Getty 84 of 110
85. Walter Scott, 50Source:Getty 85 of 110
86. Freddie Gray, 25Source:Getty 86 of 110
87. Brendon Glenn, 29Source:Getty 87 of 110
88. Samuel DuBose, 43Source:Getty 88 of 110
89. Christian Taylor, 19Source:Getty 89 of 110
90. Jamar Clark, 24Source:Getty 90 of 110
91. Mario Woods, 26Source:Getty 91 of 110
92. Quintonio LeGrier, 19Source:Getty 92 of 110
93. Gregory Gunn, 58Source:Getty 93 of 110
94. Akiel Denkins, 24Source:Getty 94 of 110
95. Alton Sterling, 37Source:Getty 95 of 110
96. Philando Castile, 32Source:Getty 96 of 110
97. Terrence Sterling, 31Source:Getty 97 of 110
98. Terence Crutcher, 40Source:Getty 98 of 110
99. Keith Lamont Scott, 43Source:Getty 99 of 110
100. Alfred Olango, 38Source:Getty 100 of 110
101. Jordan Edwards, 15Source:Getty 101 of 110
102. Stephon Clark, 22Source:false 102 of 110
103. Danny Ray Thomas, 34Source:false 103 of 110
104. DeJuan Guillory, 27Source:false 104 of 110
105. Patrick Harmon, 50105 of 110
106. Jonathan Hart, 21106 of 110
107. Maurice Granton, 24107 of 110
108. Julius Johnson, 23108 of 110
109. Jamee Johnson, 22Source:S. Lee Merritt 109 of 110
110. Michael Dean, 28Source:S. Lee Merritt 110 of 110
Judge Who Blocked Andrew Brown Jr.’s Bodycam Video Called George Zimmerman Acquittal ‘The Right Thing’ was originally published on newsone.com