Unarmed Black man shot in Virginia after deputy mistook phone for gun

Isaiah Brown. Photo via UPI

April 25 (UPI) — An unarmed Black man was shot and killed by a Virginia sheriff’s deputy shortly after the same deputy gave him a ride home.

An attorney for Isaiah Brown, 32, said the deputy with the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office shot his client on Wednesday while was on the phone with 911 after the deputy mistook the cordless house phone he was holding for a gun, CNN reported.

A Virginia State Police spokesperson confirmed Brown was unarmed at the time of the shooting, the broadcaster said.

Brown’s attorney, David Haynes, said his client was shot 10 times. State police said he was taken to a local hospital Wednesday with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

State authorities said the deputy first interacted with Brown while responding to a call about a “disabled motorist” and gave him a ride home from a gas station.

About an hour later police responded to a report of a “domestic incident” at Brown’s home and state police the same deputy shot Brown.

Body camera video and 911 audio were released on Friday after they were reviewed by Brown’s family. State police have opened a probe into the incident at the request of the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office.


“After viewing the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s deputy’s bodycam video and listening to the 911 call, it is evident that the tragic shooting of Isaiah Brown was completely avoidable,” said Haynes.

In the 911 audio Brown can be heard threatening to kill his brother, who Brown told the dispatcher wouldn’t let him go into their mother’s room. Brown also asks his brother for a gun, which he refuses to give him and Brown informs the officer that he is not armed.

Sirens are heard on the call as the dispatcher tells Brown to hold his hands up.

The body camera footage does not show Brown as the officer arrives on the seen but the deputy can be heard repeatedly ordering Brown to show his hands and put down a gun, at one point saying, “He’s got a gun to his head.”

“Drop the gun now and stop walking towards me,” the deputy is heard yelling in the footage. “Stop walking towards me. Stop. Stop.”

Multiple gunshots are then heard in the body camera footage as the deputy continues to tell Brown to drop the gun and show his hands before providing him with medical aid.

Spotsylvania Sheriff Roger Harris said the deputy was placed on administrative leave and a special prosecutor was appointed to the case.

Haynes said that Brown “clearly told dispatch that he did not have a weapon” before he arrived at the scene and said there was “obviously a failure of communication between dispatch and the officer which led to this tragic event.”

“Isaiah is now fighting for his life as a result of these completely avoidable errors by the deputy and dispatch,” he said.


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