Metro Weekly

Virginia police officer faces five years in prison for shooting unarmed gay Black man

Deputy could face up to five years in prison if found guilty of "reckless handling of firearm."

Isiah Brown – Photo: Facebook.

A grand jury in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, has indicted a deputy for the shooting of Isiah Brown on April 21, 2021.

Deputy David Turbyfill, of the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office, was indicted last Thursday on a charge of “reckless handling of firearm resulting in serious injury,” according to Brown’s attorney, David Haynes.

If convicted of the charge, Turbyfill could face up to five years in prison. An indictment does not carry a presumption of guilt.

Haynes, of the Washington-based legal practice The Cochran Firm, said in a statement that the indictment signals a “measure of justice,” reports The Hill.

“Isiah Brown’s life was shattered and changed forever when he crossed paths with David Turbyfill,” the statement said. “While this indictment doesn’t take Mr. Brown’s physical pain away, it does signify a measure of justice. We look forward to the successful prosecution of David Turbyfill.”

Turbyfill is accused of shooting Brown at least 10 times after confusing the phone in his hand for a gun, despite having previously given Brown a ride home earlier that night after Brown’s car broke down.

Brown reportedly tried to retrieve some items, including car keys, from his mother’s room, but was blocked by his brother. The two then got into an altercation, at which point, Brown dialed 911. Brown was angry with his brother, and was threatening to “kill” him, prompting the 911 operator to chastise him.

Brown demanded that police come to the house to resolve the ongoing fight, at which point the dispatcher asked if he had a weapon on his person. Brown responded, “Nope,” adding that he is “walking down the road” with his cordless house phone.

Related: Isiah Brown, a gay Black man from Virginia, in critical condition after being shot 10 times by a sheriff’s deputy

Turbyfill, responding to a report of a “domestic disturbance,” then arrived on scene and demanded to see Brown’s hands, ordering him to “stop” before firing several shots.

Video footage of the altercation shows the deputy yelling that Brown has a gun to his head, referring to the cordless phone. It also shows Brown lying in the middle of the road as the deputy continues to order him to show his hands and drop the “gun.”

Brown was placed on a ventilator in critical condition after the shooting, but was discharged from the hospital in late May.

Turbyfill has been on leave from the force pending an investigation into the shooting. But Haynes wants the deputy fired.

“We are calling for the immediate termination of Deputy David Turbyfill,” Haynes said. “We are also asking for the release of all audio communication between the deputy and dispatch, all video from the scene as well as Turbyfill’s employment records and personnel file.”

See also:

Transgender woman Taya Ashton found shot dead in her Suitland apartment

Gay man found bleeding, barely breathing on train tracks in Atlanta

Gay man has jaw “destroyed” with hammer in brutal attack

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