A lawyer representing the family of Spotsylvania County shooting victim Isaiah Brown announced Monday that he is demanding that all audio be released immediately involving the dispatcher Brown was on the phone with when he was shot early Wednesday and the deputy who shot him.
David Haynes, an attorney with the Cochran Firm in Washington, made the announcement before a throng of cameras and reporters outside the Spotsylvania Circuit Court building.
“This was clearly a failure of communication between dispatch and the officers,” Haynes said. “This is an incident that should have never happened.”
Haynes, who was flanked by members of Brown’s family and several others, said he would file a Freedom of Information request Monday with the Sheriff’s Office. He said the 911 call and the body cam video released thus far leaves too many questions unanswered.
Brown, 32, was shot about 3:18 a.m. Wednesday morning near his residence in the 12200 block of Catharpin Road. Seven shots can be clearly heard on the 911 recording, but Haynes said doctors informed the family that 10 bullets were found inside Brown. Only two of them had been removed as of Monday, he said.
Haynes said Brown remains in “critical but guarded” condition and is on a breathing machine. He called Brown’s prognosis “touch and go.”
According to the information released thus far, unnamed Spotsylvania deputies had given Brown a ride home about 30 to 45 minutes before the shooting, which Haynes described as a “good deed.” Brown’s car had broken down elsewhere in Spotsylvania.
Brown later called 911, expressing irritation with his brother and concern about getting to his car, which had already been towed. At one point during the call, Brown told the dispatcher that someone better come because, “I’m about to kill my brother.” He also answered “yup” when asked if he had a gun.
But he later stated at least twice that he was unarmed, and was outside on a cordless phone talking to a dispatcher when the same deputy who’d given him the ride home showed up.
Moments later, the deputy could be heard shouting for Brown to hold up hands and to, “Drop the gun!” The deputy then mentioned that Brown had the gun to his head; Brown was still on the phone talking with the 911 operator at the time. Brown’s brother was home at the time and heard the commotion, but didn’t actually see what happened, the lawyer said.
The deputy was then heard yelling, “Stop walking toward me,” just before the shooting began. After it ended, the deputy asked, “Where’s the gun? Where’s the gun?”
The body cam footage released did not show Brown’s response to the deputy’s commands. He was already on the ground by the time he showed up on the video. But Haynes insisted that Brown did everything he was directed to do and posed no threat at any time.
The incident is still being investigated by the Virginia State Police. The deputy, whose name has not been released, has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Fredericksburg Commonwealth’s Attorney LaBravia Jenkins, who has been appointed as a special prosecutor for the case, said Monday that she will make an announcement after the state police finish their work. She said there is no timetable for that at this point.
Haynes said that deputies made “terrible, grave basic policing errors,” including not waiting for backup, not properly lighting the area and overreacting. He also called Sheriff Roger Harris’ statement that the deputy saved Brown’s life “incredulous,” in light of the fact that it was the unnamed deputy who shot him.
Yolanda Brown, the victim’s sister, said her brother is a home health care aide known for his smile and being the “life of the party.”
“He has a good heart and is a good person,” she said. “It’s a lot to process; we’re all kind of numb.”
Jennifer Brown, Isaiah Brown’s mother, said, “My concern at this point is for my son to hopefully come home alive.”