Watch: Sheriff's Deputy Indicted in Shooting of Unarmed Gay Black Man

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday July 19, 2021

A Virginia sheriff's deputy has been indicted in the April shooting of an unarmed gay Black man, CNN reports.

A grand jury indicted "Spotsylvania County Deputy David Turbyfill ... on a felony charge of 'reckless handling of a firearm resulting in serious injury,'" in the shooting of Isiah Brown, 32, on April 21, the CNN report said.

"The indictment comes nearly three months after" the "deputy shot and wounded Brown," CNN added. "He was shot while on the phone with 911 dispatch" when the deputy apparently mistook the phone Isiah was using for a gun.

The deputy shot Brown 10 times, news reports said at the time, resulting in Brown's being hospitalized in intensive care. Brown remained in the hospital for about a month, new reports said.

"The shooting resulted in significant injuries to Mr. Brown which will undoubtedly impact him for the rest of his life," attorney David Haynes, who represents Brown, said. "While this indictment doesn't take Mr. Brown's physical pain away, it does signify a measure of justice."

As EDGE reported at the time, Brown's car had broken down and Turbyfill had given him a ride home at around 2:30 a.m., about an hour before the deputy returned to Brown's residence on a domestic disturbance call.

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 Washington reported at the time. 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."

Speaking on-air concerning the 911 call recording, CNN's Polo Sandoval reported, "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."

A New York Times article reported, "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,'" evidently mistaking the phone in Brown' hand for a firearm.

The deputy reportedly shouted, "Drop the gun now!" and "Stop walking towards me! Stop walking towards me! Stop! Stop!" before opening fire, the Times added. Brown had been on the line with the dispatcher the entire time.

"Attorneys said Brown was unarmed, holding a cordless phone at the time of the shooting and obeyed all commands given by police and the dispatcher. Virginia State Police also confirmed that Brown was unarmed," NBC 12 reported.

Haynes told the media that six bullets remain lodged in Brown's body, with "some actually in bone, one of the legs, one in the pelvis," NBC 12 recounted.

To watch the NBC 12 news clip, follow this link.

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.