Virginia Police Officer Charged in Shooting of Black Man After He Mistook Phone for Gun


A Virginia sheriff’s deputy accused of firing on an unarmed Black man after the officer allegedly mistook a phone in the man’s hand for a gun has been charged with a felony crime.

The victim, 32-year-old Isiah Brown, “did nothing wrong and was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher when [the deputy] recklessly shot him eight times,” Brown’s attorney David Haynes said in a statement shared with PEOPLE. He previously said Brown had been struck 10 times.

In the hours prior to the shooting that occurred after 3 a.m. on April 21, that same officer, identified in the indictment as Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s deputy David Turbyfill, had given Brown a ride home from his stalled car, according to NBC News.

“The shooting resulted in significant injuries to Mr. Brown which will undoubtedly impact him for the rest of his life,” Haynes said.

He added: “Isiah Brown’s life was shattered and changed forever when he crossed paths with David Turbyfill. While this indictment doesn’t take Mr. Brown’s physical pain away, it does signify a measure of justice.”

The grand jury indictment, a copy of which was obtained by PEOPLE, charges Turbyfill with “reckless handling of firearm resulting in serious injury,” and alleges the deputy “did unlawfully and feloniously handle (a) firearm in a manner so gross, wanton and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life.”

An attorney for Turbyfill, Mark Bong, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment. Bong previously declined comment to CNN. It was not immediately clear if Turbyfill has entered a plea.

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SOURCE: PEOPLE, Jeff Truesdell