A grand jury has indicted Virginia deputy David Matthew Turbyfill for the April shooting of an unarmed gay Black man.
Isiah Brown was on the phone with 911 when he was shot multiple times by the deputy.
Turbyfill is now facing one felony count of “reckless handling of a firearm resulting in serious injury” to Brown, (spelled Isaiah Brown in some reports). According to the Hill, he faces up to five years in prison if he is found guilty.
The charge is usually a misdemeanour in the state, according to the Free Lance-Star. However, Fredericksburg Commonwealth’s attorney LaBravia Jenkins, the special prosecutor appointed to handle the case, said it is a felony in this case because of the significant injuries to Brown.
Turbyfill had given Brown, 32, a ride home on 21 April. Less than an hour later, he returned to the home to respond to a “domestic incident” between Brown and his brother.
Brown, who was unarmed, was on the phone with 911 at the time.
“He’s got a gun to his head,” the deputy could be heard saying in body-camera footage, apparently mistaking the phone for a gun.
Brown was hospitalised in critical condition after the shooting but was later discharged.
Isiah Brown’s life ‘forever changed’ after police shooting
According to the Independent, Turbyhill was placed on administrative leave by the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office after the shooting in April.
David Haynes, who is representing Brown, said in a statement that his client’s life was “shattered and changed forever when he crossed paths” with Turbyfill.
“While this indictment doesn’t take Mr Brown’s physical pain away, it does signify a measure of justice,” Haynes said. “We look forward to the successful prosecution of David Turbyfill.”
According to the Associated Press, Haynes said his client was shot 10 times and eight bullets were found in his body.
Haynes said Brown’s family is calling for the “immediate termination” of Turbyfill. He added they will also be requesting for the release of all “audio communication between the deputy and dispatch, all video from the scene” and Turbyfill’s employment records and personnel files.
Anthony Foote, the president of Fredericksburg Black Lives Matter, told WUSA9 that he was “overjoyed” by Turbyfill’s indictment.
“We finally have some accountability,” he said. “At the end of the day, we have something as a starting point for a young man who is remarkably still alive.”
The Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office told the Free Lance-Star it would refer all questions about the case to Jenkins.
Jenkins told the news outlet that there were no other details about the investigation that she could release at the time.
She said she will not be prosecuting the case because she’s retiring in August. As such, Jenkins said, someone else in the city prosecutor’s office will handle the case. However, she did not confirm who would be taking over when she steps down.