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Unarmed Man Shot 8 Times By Police While On the Phone With 911 Files $26M Lawsuit

Spotsylvania, Va. – A 32-year-old Black man who was shot 8 times by Virginia police is filing a lawsuit for $26.35 million against the two officers involved in the shooting.

According to the lawsuit, in April 2020 Isiah Brown was shot Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s deputy David Turbyfill while he was on the phone with 911 dispatch.

Turbyfill was dispatched to the address in response to a disagreement between Brown and a relative. When he arrived, he exited his car and shot Brown several times, the lawsuit states.

Brown was on the street near his mother’s home, on the phone with a 911 dispatcher when Turbyfill shot him. In the 911 call, Turbyfill seems to have believed that Brown was armed with a gun. The officer can be heard yelling at Brown to drop the gun on the 911 call.

Brown’s attorney David Haynes, said his client was unarmed, holding only a phone at the time of the shooting and obeyed all police and dispatcher commands.

“Today we filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of Isiah Brown against Spotsylvania County Police Chief Roger Harris and Deputy David Turbyfill for their roles in the totally unnecessary shooting incident involving Mr. Brown that occurred April 21,” said Haynes in a statement to ABC News.

The lawsuit accuses Turbyfill of negligence, battery, and excessive force and alleges that “prior to using lethal force, Deputy Turbyfill had a reasonable opportunity to warn Mr. Brown that he (Deputy Turbyfill) was about to use lethal force against Mr. Brown.” The department’s sheriff is named in the lawsuit for his direction and supervision of deputies, including Turbyfill.

Turbyfill was charged with felony reckless handling of a firearm and has been placed on administrative duties since the shooting, according to a statement from the Spotsylvania Sheriff’s office.

On July 15, 2021, a special grand jury sitting in Spotsylvania County indicted Turbyfill for “unlawfully and feloniously” handling a firearm, court documents said.

“Mr. Brown suffered serious injuries. He was hospitalized for a number of weeks, underwent multiple surgeries, suffered great pain, and was required to wear a colostomy bag,” according to the lawsuit filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Haynes said that the shooting caused life-altering injuries for Brown, which will “leave him with permanent damage for the rest of his life.”

“Isiah Brown’s life will never be the same after his tragic encounter with David Turbyfill,” Haynes said. “Our hope is that this lawsuit will provide a measure of justice for Mr. Brown and force the Spotsylvania Police Department to enhance their training and update their policies and procedures so that this never happens to another person.”

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