Isaiah Brown, a 32-year old Black man, was left in critical condition in the ICU after calling 911 for help at his home in Spotsylvania County last Wednesday. Shortly after Brown was given a helpful ride home from the sheriff’s deputy, the two met again within the hour, but this time with 10 shots fired. All 10 from the sheriff’s deputy’s weapon; all 10 hitting Brown.
“The investigation remains ongoing at this time, so we are not in a position to comment on any circumstances related to the shooting,” state police said in a statement. “Once the investigation is concluded, state police will turn over the investigative findings to the special prosecutor for final review and adjudication.”
Around 2:30 am Isaiah Brown’s car broke down at a Wawa and a Spotsylvania County sheriff’s deputy gave him a ride home. Once getting to Brown’s house, the officer took the time to tell Brown’s brother that he was in no trouble just that his car had broken down. Shortly after, Brown called 911 and the same officer was dispatched to the call heading back to Brown’s home. According to the updated news report from NBC Washington, while on the phone with 911, Brown said he was going to kill his brother but was easily consoled and then admitted to the dispatcher he did not have a gun but that they better send someone quick.
Upon arrival, the sheriff’s deputy’s bodycam reveals that he began shouting at Brown to put his hands up and drop the gun — yet there was no gun, he was holding his phone. Then, the officer yelled out that he believed Brown had the gun to his own head- the gun being his phone pressed to his ear due to the fact Brown was still on the phone. Within moments, the officer opened fire emptying 10 rounds into Brown as he stood in the street still on the phone with 911 dispatch.
There is no clear indication whether or not Brown had been able to tell the officer it was a phone and not a gun. What was tragically clear was the availability of the killing. According to the family’s attorney, David Haynes, after seeing the bodycam of the officer and placing the order of events and statements in chronological order down to the second, Brown had told dispatch, “he did not have a weapon” and was, “walking away from the house and away from anyone else and was on the roadway by himself”. Brown had told dispatch more than a minute and a half before the deputy even arrived.
“This was clearly a failure of communication between the dispatch and the officers that arrived on scene,” Haynes said. “As a result of those failures, Isaiah Brown is in intensive care.”
In other news, the family of Andrew Brown Jr. — no relation to the above Brown — has been seeking answers for his death. Brown Jr. was killed last week after an officer shot him in his car.
This minuscule amount of released information comes from a mere 20-second clip of a single officer’s body cam (who was also the furthest officer away) at the incident. The intense secrecy and procrastination of the release of any full, unreacted footage only mounts more frustration to the family and community. In fact, the shooting has brought out enough enraged (yet peaceful) protestors that it has driven the mayor of Elizabeth City to declare a state of emergency even before the public release of body and dashcam footage from any of the seven officers involved.
Why did the sheriff’s department only release a single 20-second clip in the middle of the shooting with no context to further explain the situation? What caused all the officers to open fire when Brown was unarmed with his hands on the wheel? When will they tell us what happened?
The facts are not in, but the fact that this police department is holding onto everything so tightly for so long should tell us something isn’t right. The family and community demand transparency and show no signs of stopping their protests for it.
More information to come as the investigation continues for Isisiah Brown while updates on Andrew Brown Jr. can be found here.