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 3:18am.
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.
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Isaiah Brown, 32, was heard on a 911 call, which was released Friday, saying he wanted to kill his brother. He went out for a walk outside his Virginia home, still on the phone with 911, when a deputy in the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s office responded and seemingly mistook the phone for a gun before shooting him multiple times.
Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s office released body camera footage and a recording of the 911 call late Saturday after public outrage over the shooting
Transcript of the 911 recording
Brown: ‘Can you send somebody down here?’
911: ‘What is going on, Isaiah? Why don’t you just, what is the problem?’
Brown: ‘I’m about to kill my brother,’ Isaiah Brown responded.
911 : ‘Don’t kill your brother.’
Brown: ‘Someone needs to come here real quick.’
(at this point Brown leaves his house)
911: ‘Do you understand that you just threatened to kill your brother on a recorded line on 911?’
911: ‘So why would you say something like that?’
Brown ‘Because I need to get to my s**t’
911: ‘Do you have a gun?’
911: ‘Do you have a gun on you?’
911: ‘Do you have any weapons on you?’
(Sirens are heard in the background.)
911: ‘You need to hold your hands up. Hold your hands up.’
911: ‘Isaiah, are you holding your hands up?’
Deputy: ‘Show me your hands. Show me your hands now.:
Dispatch: ‘Are you holding your hands up?’
Deputy: ‘Show me your hands. Drop the gun. Drop the gun now. Stop walking towards me. Stop walking towards me. Stop. Stop.’
(Sound of at least seven shots goes off.)
(About one minute passes)
Deputy: ‘Several gunshots to the abdomen. One gunshot to the left eye. Two gunshots to the side. I got you, man. I’ll pray for you, man.’
(The deputy tells Brown’s brother to get the medical kit from his squad car and works to keep Brown alive. The 911 audio continues for about four more minutes)
The incident started at around 2:30am 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 appear 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 her 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 officer can be heard shouting ‘Show me your hands’ and ‘Drop the gun’ several times, before opening fire
Brown’s family says he suffers from a mental illness, and that the officer had no reason to shoot him
The 911 audio ends with the deputy telling Brown that the medics are on their way and asking, ‘Where is the gun?’
Brown’s family says he suffers from a mental illness, and that the officer had no reason to shoot him, Fox 5 Washington DC reported.
Tazmon told NBC 4 Washington on Friday that he thinks his brother called 911 because he wanted a ride back to his car so that it wouldn’t be towed.
‘The officer just started shooting at him for no reason. I didn´t hear a warning shot. All I heard was ‘Hands up!’ one time. And all he had was his phone, so I know he put his hands up,’ Tazmon told NBC 4.
The deputy was placed on administrative leave while the investigation, which is being handled by the Virginia State Police, proceeds, the Spotsylvania sheriff said in a video statement on Friday.
The shooting sparked a protest Friday evening outside the Spotsylvania courthouse in Fredericksburg.
Isiah Brown’s family, including his brother and sister Tazmon and Yolanda, said Isaiah suffers from mental illness, and the officer had no reason to shoot him, Fox 5 Washington DC reported.
The protesters marched from the county administration building to the sheriff’s office, The Free Lance Star reported.
Before making the march, they had a verbal exchange with a couple counterprotesters, who were led by Nick Ignacio, a candidate for the Board of Supervisors in Spotsylvania, according to The Free Lance Star.
‘We want answers for a young man fighting for his life right now,’ said Anthony Foote, one of the protest organizers, according to The Free Lance Star.
‘Isaiah needs to survive. It’s hard to know a story when there’s only one side.’
Spotsylvania Sheriff Roger Harris briefly addressed the protest, saying: ‘I support you. I support the cause. When you see the video, the deputy actually saved this gentleman’s life.’
The shooting sparked a protest Friday evening outside the Spotsylvania courthouse in Fredericksburg
Spotsylvania Sheriff Roger Harris briefly addressed the protest, saying: ‘I support you. I support the cause. When you see the video, the deputy actually saved this gentleman’s life’
Brown’s attorney David Hynes said in a statement to Fox 5 Washington DC that the released bodycam footage shows the shooting ‘was completely avoidable.’
Hynes said: ‘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.’