Isiah Brown, a 32-year-old gay Black man, was shot multiple times in front of his Virginia home following a call he placed to police for help on April 21. After telling the 911 operator that he was “going to kill his brother” but did not have a gun or any weapon, the 911 operator told Brown not to kill his brother and to wait outside for police to arrive on the scene. She also told him to raise his hands above his head.
Brown followed those instructions specifically, but reportedly continued to hold a household cordless phone in one of his hands. Spotsylvania County Deputy Sheriff David Turbyfill answered the 911 call, after he had given Brown a ride to the same location earlier in the evening. When he arrived on the scene a second time, he claims he thought the phone in Brown’s hand was a gun.
Turbyfill’s name and bodycam footage were released to the media July 15, when he was officially charged with felony reckless handling of a firearm.
Brown is currently recovering from his extensive wounds, but the extent of long term physical damage he may have experienced is still unknown. The charge that Turbyfill now faces, according to Brown’s attorney David Haynes, is inadequate for what the attorney believes to be malicious intent.
Video footage of the encounter has been posted online and confirms Turbyfill did tell Brown multiple times to “drop the gun.” No response from Brown can be heard, and why Turbyfill purportedly believed that Brown was holding a gun, especially considering he had spent time with the man just a short time earlier, remains unclear. Whether or not Turbyfill entered the scene with the express purpose of harming Brown is also unknown.
Haynes disagrees about Turbyfill’s intents and issued the following statement: “We are calling for the immediate termination of Deputy David Turbyfill.”
Since the incident in April and Brown’s discharge from the hospital in May, Turbyfill has not been taken off of the force. Instead, he has been placed on desk duty for the remainder of the investigation.
If he is convicted of the felony charge, the most time he will spend in prison is five years.
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