In a four-page April 28 letter to North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, Carl L. Parker, Sr., president of the Brunswick County NAACP, charges that, when Trooper Scott Collins shot Brandon Webster on January 1, Collins “…intended to kill the moment he got out of his patrol car.”
Meanwhile Ira Braswell, the attorney for the victim’s family, confirms that, while AG Stein’s April 12 decision not to file charges against Trooper Collins for the fatal shooting of the 28 year old Black man may have ended the criminal prosecution, there are other legal avenues to pursue, including civil liability.
Webster died after he was severely wounded by Trooper Collins in the parking lot of a Shalotte mini-mart New Year’s Day. Webster, accompanied by a female passenger in his white truck, was shot after he drove around a traffic stop Collins had setup. After ordering Webster to stop, Collins discharged his weapon.
The female passenger was unharmed.
After a three month investigation, State Attorney General Josh Stein issued an April 12 decision, indicating that Collins was justified in firing his weapon when Webster’s truck wouldn’t stop. Stein added that, based on his review of video of the incident, Trooper Collins did not employ excessive force.
Brunswick NAACP Pres. Carl Parker sees it differently.
Further expounding on comments he gave to the Wilmington Journal last week, Parker, in his April 28letter to AG Stein, says, “The video is clear and compelling. Trooper Collins, while successfully “stepping” aside from the fleeing truck, acted as judge, jury and executioner to terminate Mr. Webster’s beautiful young life, and for what purpose? What guise of reasoning?”
Parker charges that Brandon Webster was a victim of racial profiling.
“Racial profiling isn’t a recent phenomenon in Brunswick County,” Parker wrote. “It has been [a] constant and tragic pattern deeply etched into how Black people have been treated and abused through no fault of their own except the color of their skin. With the sad death of young Mr. Brandon Webster, we see once again the tragic results of racial profiling.”
Mr. Parker later continues, “And what is so ironic with this is Mr. Webster’s hands were in the air, visible to the trooper, (as reported by an eyewitness). The trooper never had to say, ‘Keep your hands where I can see them.’ Instead he said turn off the engine of the truck. If Brandon would have turned off the engine, his hands would have been out of the trooper’s sight so the trooper would say, “I thought he was going for a gun.”
“History has been a witness [to] this type of tragedy over and over,” Parker continued. “Clearly, Mr. Webster was in fear for his life and his companion’s life.”
The Brunswick NAACP president then chides SBI agents for allegedly intimidating the mini-mart owner for the store’s video of the shooting, as well as a woman for her cellphone video, calling them “storm trooper tactics.”
Mr. Parker concluded his letter to AG Stein, saying that, as a result of the Brandon Webster killing, “…there is great fear amongst our families….and a loss of trust in our legal system…”
He “implored” AG Stein to “re-examine this case…” and “remove Trooper Collins from law enforcement service.”
“Please don’t let your April 12, 2019 decision fuel future discontent towards those charged with law enforcement in Brunswick County,” Parker concluded. “We pray for you to “rebuke the winds and the sea.”
Attorney Ira Braswell, who represents the family of Brandon Webster, was not able to attend a peaceful demonstration on behalf of Webster last Friday at Mulberry Park, but in an interview with The Wilmington Journal last week confirmed, “Oh, there IS a next step. We now have to use the mechanism of the civil system in order to get justice, or, at least, as much justice as you can get.”
“Of course we would prefer to have [Trooper] Collins criminally charged, but…”
Attorney Braswell alleged that “…this is the second time he’s been under investigation, and he got cleared by umpires that are not calling balls and strikes…”
Braswell called AG Stein “…a partisan actor. That’s all he is…” adding that Stein is a Democrat, and that’s because Blacks keep voting for Democrats. “…Things will never change!”