SHALLOTTE, NC (WECT) - Protesters gathered outside the Civietown Mini-Mart near Shallotte requesting that the store release surveillance video from the night a N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper shot 28-year-old Brandon Webster who later died, but the store owner said the video had been handed over to state investigators and has since been deleted from the hard drive with no other copies.
At 2 p.m. Saturday, about 10 people held signs and chanted, “No tape, no dollars" during the peaceful protest outside the store which lasted about one hour.
One of the organizers, Rhonda Sekhmet-Ra, said the rally had multiple goals, including community solidarity, stopping unjust force by law enforcement, and asking the store owner to release the surveillance video.
“We want justice for Brandon Webster. We want the public to know the truth about what happened, and we don’t want this to be swept under the rug. We want something to be done,” said Sekhmet-Ra.
N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper S.A. Collins shot Brandon Webster during a traffic stop on January 1, 2019 near the Civietown Mini-Mart.
A camera on the outside of the store is pointed toward the location where Webster was shot.
During the protest, a WECT reporter asked the Civietown Mini-Mart owner, who did not want his name published citing safety concerns, if the store had surveillance video of the night Webster was shot near the store.
The store owner said after the shooting, the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) came to the store and obtained the video footage. The owner said the SBI told him to not show the video to anyone else.
The owner said he has received a lot of requests since the shooting to release the video.
When asked on Saturday if the owner still had the video footage, he said the software automatically deletes video after about 10 days, and he did not have a extra copy of the video stored anywhere else after it was deleted.
When WECT recorded the computer screen of the store owner clicking through the surveillance video software to the day of the shooting, it appears to show surveillance video dating back from January 16 to January 3.
The video software shows no video on January 2 and January 1.
The owner also did not specify what the video did or did not record the night of the shooting.
WECT has reached out to the SBI for comment about the store owner’s account, and we are waiting to hear back.
After the shooting, a spokesperson for the State Highway Patrol said that Collins discharged his firearm as “the violator vehicle accelerated towards him, fleeing the scene.” Collins was placed on administrative duty as the SBI investigates the shooting, as is agency policy.
“[This protest] is important because we’ve continued to see unarmed black men and others be killed unjustly by law enforcement, and we want that to stop,” Sekhmetra says.
This is the second organized protest after the shooting of Brandon Webster sparked a larger march through Main Street in Shallotte.