Gov. Cooper urges special prosecutor appointment in Elizabeth City case

FILE – Gov. Roy Cooper listens to a question during a briefing at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, July 14, 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic. Cooper will discuss the pandemic, education and his re-election bid in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, Aug. 6. (Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer via AP, File)

RALEIGH – Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday urged a special prosecutor be appointed to handle all matters relating to the shooting of Andrew Brown Jr.

“In the interest of justice and confidence in the judicial system, I believe a special prosecutor should handle all matters regarding the shooting in Pasquotank County,” Gov. Cooper said in a press statement.

“This would help assure the community and Mr. Brown’s family that a decision on pursuing criminal charges is conducted without bias. This position is consistent with the change in the law recommended by our Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice which calls for a special prosecutor in police shootings, and I believe the law should be changed to help ensure it.”

Should the district attorney request a special prosecutor, the potential appointment could come from the N.C. Attorney General’s Special Prosecution Division, the Administrative Office of the Courts, or the Conference of District Attorneys.

Cooper’s call follows the announcement of an FBI civil rights investigation into the shooting.