The FBI has confirmed that a civil rights investigation has been opened in regards to the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. by North Carolina police. Brown’s shooting attracted national outrage and calls for the release of bodycam footage after he was shot in the back of the head while fleeing Pasquotank County Sheriff’s deputies.

Speaking with CNN, a spokesperson for the FBI said that an investigation was underway but details wouldn’t be available while it ran its course.

"Agents will work closely with the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina and the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice to determine whether federal laws were violated. As this is an ongoing investigation, we cannot comment further," they said.

The FBI might not be the only federal body scrutinizing the incident. On April 16, Attorney General Merrick Garland allowed the Justice Department to begin imposing consent decrees once more, a powerful legal tool used to reform and constrain local law enforcement misconduct.

Brown’s shooting sparked protests and a curfew across Elizabeth City starting 8 p.m. Tuesday. Residents have been outraged by the refusal of the county to release footage of the fatal incident, which the Sheriff’s office says cannot be released without a court order.

The county attorney as well as a media coalition have already filed for its release.

"Black Lives Matter" protestors in Minneapolis, Minnesota ahead of the trial of the police officer charged with killing George Floyd
"Black Lives Matter" protestors in Minneapolis, Minnesota ahead of the trial of the police officer charged with killing George Floyd GETTY IMAGES / Stephen Maturen

Brown’s family and their attorney have been shown the footage, which they labeled an “execution.”

"Yesterday, I said I thought he was executed," Brown's son Khalil Ferebee said. "It's obvious he was trying to get away. It's obvious. And they gonna shoot him in the back of the head? Man, that [expletive]’s not right. That's not right at all, man."

Pasquotank Sheriff Tommy Wooten tried to tamp down on expectations that the bodycam footage would be conclusive when released.

“This tragic incident was quick and over in less than thirty seconds. Body cameras are shakey and sometimes hard to decipher. They only tell part of the story,” he said. “Outside investigators, both from the FBI and four other sheriffs’ offices are interviewing witnesses and gathering more information.”

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Deputies were serving a warrant as part of a drug investigation when Brown was cornered in his driveway. He was shot four times before trying to escape. A shot to the back of the head as he drove away caused him to crash his vehicle. According to his death certificate, the head wound killed him within minutes.

“They were shooting and saying: ‘Let me see your hands!’ at the same time,” lawyer Chantel Cherry-Lassiter told reporters Monday. “Let’s be clear: This was an execution.”