Black Gay Man Calls 911, is Shot 10 Times by Deputy

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday April 26, 2021

A Black gay man in Virginia who called 911 ended up being shot 10 times by a sheriff's deputy who thought the phone the man was speaking into was a gun, NBC Washington reports.

That same Spotsylvania County sheriff's deputy had given 32-year-old Isiah Brown a ride home at 2:30 am on April 21. Shortly after the deputy brought him home, Brown called 911 because he and a family member had become engaged in a dispute.

"A source within the county sheriff's office said he was complaining about his brother," NBC reported. His brother, Tazmon Brown, told the press he thought his brother "just wanted a ride back to his car because he was worried it might get towed," NBC reported.

CNN's Polo Sandoval reported on air that in the 911 call recording "you can actually hear Brown having an argument with his brother; at one point in conversation Brown threatens to kill his brother. Brown is also heard asking his brother for a gun, but his brother refuses, and then, seconds later, Brown tells dispatchers that he does not have a gun and that he's not armed as he walks into the street, and that's when you begin to hear those sirens approaching."

CNN played an excerpt from the 911 recording in which the dispatcher can be heard asking, "Isiah, are you holding your hands up?" Isiah does not respond, but the deputy can be heard shouting, "Show me your hands!"

"Put your hands up," the dispatcher urges.

Again, there is no response from Isaiah, but the deputy can be heard: "Show me your hands now! Show me your hands! Drop the gun!"

Brown was not armed, news reports said. He "was wounded in the face, neck, chest and pelvic area," NBC News said.

A New York Times article offered more detail. "After finding Mr. Brown walking in a road and talking to a 911 dispatcher, the deputy said, 'He's got a gun to his head,' " the Times reported.

The deputy reportedly shouted, "Drop the gun now!" and "Stop walking towards me! Stop walking towards me! Stop! Stop!" before opening fire.

The 911 recording picked up Brown's brother asking, "Does he still have the house phone?"

The deputy is heard on the recording asking, "Where is the gun at? Where is the gun?"

An attorney for Brown, David Haynes, told the press, "There is no indication that Isiah did anything other than comply with dispatch's orders and raised his hands with the phone in his hand as instructed."

Brown's sister, Yolanda Brown, told the press that Isiah "was in an intensive-care unit and on a breathing machine," the Times article said, and quoted a doctor saying that Isaiah " 'not out of the woods yet, and it's touch and go.' "

Watch the NBC News clips below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.