Video: Bodycam Shows Police Shot Unarmed Isaiah Brown Who Was On Phone With 911, Mistaking Phone For Gun

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A Virginia sheriff’s deputy shot an unarmed black man multiple times while he was on the phone to a 911 dispatcher after the officer apparently mistook the phone for a gun, newly released footage shows.

Just minutes moments before police arrived, he had told a 911 dispatcher he was going to kill his brother.

Isaiah Brown, 32, was walking down the street outside of his Spotsylvania County home in the early hours of Wednesday morning and talking on the phone to a 911 operator when the deputy got to the scene around 3:18 am.

The officer can be heard shouting ‘Show me your hands’ and ‘Drop the gun’ several times, before opening fire.

Less than an hour earlier, the same deputy had given Brown a ride home after his car broke down near a gas station several miles away.

Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s office released body camera footage and a recording of the 911 call late Friday night after public outrage over the shooting.

Brown survived the shooting but is in critical condition in a Fredericksburg hospital. The officer has not yet been identified by officials.

“Show me your hands,” he shouted. “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.”

Then shots were fired. The deputy began CPR.

Brown was unarmed. He had a phone in his hand.

Dozens of people protested outside the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office headquarters Friday evening, chanting, “No justice, no peace.”

Brown’s family didn’t comment after watching the body camera video at the special prosecutors’ office earlier in the day.

The incident started at around 2:30 am Wednesday, when the deputy gave Brown a ride home from a gas station after his car broke down.

When the deputy dropped him off, he spoke to Brown’s brother Tazmon and said Brown wasn’t in trouble; he just needed a ride home. The deputy then left.

But less than an hour later, Brown called 911 during an argument with his brother.

In the recording of the call with a dispatcher, Brown can be heard asking his brother for a gun, and his brother can be heard telling him he wasn’t going to give it to him.

Brown can be heard threatening to kill his brother because he wouldn’t let him in their mom’s room.

The dispatcher asks ‘What is going on, Isaiah? What is the problem?’

Brown responds: ‘I’m about to kill my brother.’

He then tells the operator: ‘Somebody needs to come here real quick.’

The dispatcher asks: ‘Do you understand that you just threatened to kill your brother on a recorded line on 911?’

The 911 dispatcher asked Brown if he had a gun, which Brown first answered, ‘Yup’.

But he later says that he is not carrying one.

At some point, it appears Brown walks outside the property.

Sirens can soon be heard in the background, and Brown was still on the call with the 911 dispatcher when the deputy arrived.

Less than 30 seconds before the deputy shot Brown, he again tells the dispatcher he does not have a gun. But it’s unclear whether the responding deputy had been made aware.

The 911 operator can be heard telling Brown that he needs to put his hands up, but it is unclear if she responded.

She says: ‘You need to hold your hands up. Hold your hands up.’

In the background, the officer can be heard shouting for Isaiah to put his hands in the air.

In the bodycam footage, it appears that the deputy mistakes the phone for a weapon.

‘He’s got a gun to his head,’ the deputy was heard saying on the radio.

He then shouts at Brown, ‘Stop walking towards me. Stop walking towards me. Stop. Stop,’ before firing at least seven times.

The deputy, who isn’t named, can be heard saying Brown was shot multiple times in the abdomen, one shot to the left eye and two to his side.

‘Performing life-saving measures,’ the deputy said before the bodycam footage ends.

The 911 audio continues beyond that moment, and the deputy can be heard trying to keep Brown alive and instructing Brown’s brother to get a first aid kit out of his patrol car.

‘I got you, man. I’ll pray for you man,’ the deputy was heard telling Brown. ‘Hey, man, stay with me. Don’t leave me.’

The incident began when the deputy, who is white, gave Brown, who is Black, a ride home after Brown’s car broke down at a gas station on Route 3 — several miles from his home in the 12200 block of West Catharpin Road — about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The deputy drove away from Brown’s house after he dropped him off.

Moments later, Brown called 911, reporting a dispute with his brother.

It sounds like he’s asking his brother for a gun while on the call.

Brown then tells the 911 dispatcher he is going to kill his brother.

“I’m about to kill my brother,” he says.

“Don’t kill your brother,” the dispatcher replies.

“Alright,” Brown says.

“Why would you say something like that?” the dispatcher asks.

“Somebody needs to come here real quick,” Brown says.

Brown then tells the 911 operator that he doesn’t have a gun on him.

The deputy who gave Brown a ride home responded to the 911 call, shooting Brown as he stood in the road while talking on the phone with the 911 dispatcher.

“I’m still trying to figure out where he felt the threat at to feel the need to shoot,” Brown’s sister, Yolanda Brown, told News4 Thursday.

After the video was released, the family attorney for Brown released a statement, saying, “Isaiah clearly told dispatch that he did not have a weapon more than 90 seconds before the deputy arrived … The deputy was situated nearly 50 feet from Isaiah, was never threatened, and should not have discharged his weapon.”

“At my request, the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation was contacted to ensure an impartial investigation,” Spotsylvania Sheriff Roger Harris said.

The deputy is on administrative leave.

The complete statement from David Haynes of The Cochran Firm – D.C., attorney for Isaiah Brown:

“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. In the 911 call, Isaiah clearly told dispatch that he did not have a weapon more than 90 seconds before the deputy arrived. He told dispatch that he was walking away from the house and away from anyone else and was on the roadway by himself.

“Isaiah was on the phone with 911 at the time of the shooting and the officer mistook a cordless house phone for a gun. There is no indication that Isaiah did anything other than comply with dispatch’s orders and raised his hands with the phone in his hand as instructed.

“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.

“The family is also requesting the release of the dispatch audio with the deputy leading up to the shooting. 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.”

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