Virginia deputy shot Black man after mistaking phone for a gun

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Ashley Terrell
·3 min read
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“The deputy in question made multiple, basic policing errors and violated established protocols”

A Virginia deputy shot a Black man 10 times on Wednesday after mistaking his phone for a gun.

Newsweek reported that 32-year-old Isaiah Brown, who was unarmed, was shot by the Spotsylvania County sheriff’s deputy after calling 911 about a domestic dispute with his brother.

In recently analyzed bodycam footage, the deputy can be heard yelling at Brown and mistaking a Black cordless house phone that he was speaking on, as a gun. Brown was speaking to a 911 dispatcher and according to audio of the call, he told the dispatcher that he didn’t have a gun in his possession.

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“Show me your hands! Show me your hands! Show me your hands, now. Show me your hands. Drop the gun. He’s got a gun to his head. Drop the gun now. Stop walking towards me. Stop walking towards me. Stop. Stop,” the deputy yelled in the video.

Brown remains in the intensive care unit, according to family members. David Haynes, Brown’s attorney, issued a statement on Friday, saying “It is evident that the tragic shooting of Isaiah Brown was completely avoidable.”

“The deputy in question made multiple, basic policing errors and violated established protocols. The deputy was situated nearly 50 feet from Isaiah, was never threatened and should not have discharged his weapon,” Haynes said.

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Both Brown’s family and the ACLU of Virginia demanded that the call be made public, according to CBS 6 News Richmond. The family confirmed to WRC-TV that the same deputy, who remains unidentified and placed on administrative leave, gave Brown a ride home from the gas station after his car broke down.

The deputy assured Brown’s siblings that he wasn’t in trouble, but later returned after Brown called 911.

“I’m about to kill my brother,” Brown told the dispatcher, who responded, “Don’t kill your brother.” After asking multiple times if Brown had a gun, he says no.

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In light of the recent police shootings involving Black people, most recently with the shooting death of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, people online voiced their outrage.

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Host and clinical social worker Chelsea Higgs Wise tweeted, “I hate that we are demanding a tape. A VA Sheriff shot Isaiah Brown 10 times. Who still needs evidence?? Why? Defund Virginia Policing.”

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Rod Hall, a Democrat running for 31st District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, tweeted, “There are no words for this heartbreak, this anger, or this injustice. Something has to change. #IsaiahBrown.”

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