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Gay Black man shot repeatedly by cop who ‘thought his phone was a gun’ after calling 911 for help

Emma Powys Maurice April 26, 2021
Isaiah Brown

Isaiah Brown was shot multiple times by a police officer who allegedly mistook his phone for a gun (Screenshot: YouTube/WUSA9)

A gay Black man is in intensive care after being shot ten times by a police officer who’d given him a ride home less than an hour earlier.

Isaiah Brown, 32, was driven home by a Virginia sheriff’s deputy on Wednesday (21 April) after his car broke down. The same officer returned to the address about 45 minutes later following reports of a “domestic incident” between Brown and his brother.

When he arrived Brown, who was unarmed, was on the phone to a 911 dispatcher. “He’s got a gun to his head,” the deputy can be heard saying in body-camera footage released Friday (23 April), apparently mistaking the phone for a gun.

“Drop the gun now and stop walking towards me,” he screamed. “Stop walking towards me. Stop. Stop.”

At this point a series of gunshots ring out on the video; by the time Brown first appears on camera, he had already been shot multiple times.

The deputy continued telling Brown to drop the ‘gun’ and show his hands before providing him with medical aid. A spokesperson for the Virginia State Police confirmed to CNN that the victim was unarmed at the time of the shooting.

“The officer mistook a cordless house phone for a gun,” Brown’s lawyer, David Haynes, said in a statement.

“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.”

Isaiah Brown is now on a breathing machine and is being treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries. The police deputy, who has not been named, has been placed on administrative leave according to the sheriff’s office policy.

In the recording of the 911 call, Brown can be heard arguing with his brother about getting keys to a car parked outside of the house. While on the phone he asks his brother for a gun, which his brother refused to give him. He then asks the dispatcher to send someone to the house and says: “I’m about to kill my brother.”

However, Haynes said Brown added that he was unarmed and had “clearly told dispatch that he did not have a weapon” before the deputy arrived.

Brown’s family is asking for the release of the dispatch audio with the deputy prior to the shooting to help explain the “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,” Haynes said.

Virginia State Police said it is investigating the shooting.

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