Body camera video released; deputy who shot Black man appears to mistake phone for gun

Around the South

SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. (WRIC/AP) — Body camera footage and 911 audio from the shooting of a Black man by a Virginia deputy appears to show the deputy mistook a cordless house phone the man was holding for a gun.

The Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office released the video and audio late Friday related to the shooting of 32-year-old Isiah Brown. Authorities had said the deputy was responding to a domestic disturbance Wednesday.

Brown was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher when the deputy arrived. The deputy is heard saying “drop the gun” multiple times before opening fire.

Brown had told the dispatcher that he was not armed and was walking down the street with a house telephone.

The family of the victim, Isiah L. Brown, watched the video and listened to the call before either was released to the public.

Around 3:19 a.m., Brown calls 911 and says his brother is preventing him from getting his belongings and he can’t get to his car — which at the time was broken down. During the call he tells the dispatcher that he is going to kill his brother, the dispatcher then asks him why he would say that.

The dispatcher questions Brown as to whether or not he has a gun, he tells her he does not. Virginia State Police has also stated that Brown did not have a gun on him.

He then says that he is walking down the street. Brown stays on the phone with the dispatcher as sirens become audible and the deputy arrives at the scene.

When the deputy first steps out of his vehicle he begins yelling “show me your hands.”

In the body cam footage and 911 call the deputy can be heard yelling at Brown to “drop the gun.” The deputy then says “he’s got a gun to his head.” Brown is not visible at this point in the body cam footage. “Stop walking towards me, stop walking towards me, stop, stop” the deputy repeats. Shortly after that seven shots ring out.

The deputy was out of his vehicle for less than 30 seconds before shots were fired. Brown was struck multiple times and the deputy administered aid. He suffered serious injuries but is expected to survive.

Brown is not visible prior to or during the shooting.

According to VSP, the deputy who shot Brown had given him a ride home earlier that same evening after his car broke down. The dispatcher mentions to him that his car had been towed towards the beginning of the 911 call.

The sheriff’s office has put the deputy on administrative leave while VSP investigates. A special prosecutor has also been assigned to the case.

The video shared by the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office on YouTube is edited and certain things are blurred out. The deputy’s dashboard camera as well as Brown’s injuries are pixelated in the video. Unlike most other body camera videos, this video does not have any visible time stamps.

SCSO says the video has not been zoomed or cropped. In regards to the timestamp they tell 8News that is a feature that can be added.

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