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Spotsylvania man shot by deputy files $26 million lawsuit
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Spotsylvania man shot by deputy files $26 million lawsuit

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The Spotsylvania man shot by a county deputy during a highly publicized incident on April 21 has filed a $26 million lawsuit against the deputy and Sheriff Roger Harris.

Attorneys for Isiah Brown filed the suit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Richmond. The suit accuses Deputy David Turbyfill of “gross negligence, battery and using excessive force.”

Brown was shot multiple times early April 21 outside his mother’s home in the 12200 block of Catharpin Road in Spotsylvania. He was holding a cordless telephone that the deputy apparently mistook for a gun.

Brown had gotten a ride home from Turbyfill earlier that night after his car broke down. The deputy returned to the residence about 3:18 a.m. after Brown made what a dispatcher told him was an unnecessary 911 call.

The call came after Brown got into an argument with his brother. During the 911 call, Brown threatened to kill his brother and answered “yup” when the dispatcher asked if he had a gun. He later said he did not have a gun.

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Turbyfill’s voice can be heard on audio released by the Sheriff’s Office shouting “drop the gun, drop the gun” before a series of shots rang out. State police, who investigated the shooting, said Brown didn’t have a gun.

A special grand jury investigated the incident and indicted Turbyfill on a felony criminal charge of reckless handling of a firearm. His arraignment in Spotsylvania Circuit Court has been continued several times, but is now scheduled for Dec. 22. Turbyfill is free on bond while he awaits trial.

David Haynes of the Cochran firm, the lead attorney in the case, wrote in the newly filed lawsuit that Brown was struck by at least eight bullets. He said Turbyfill did not provide any warning, though he had a reasonable opportunity to do so.

The suit states that the “flurry of bullets ... caused enormous injury” to Brown. Haynes wrote that Brown’s intestines were pierced and he suffered a fractured rib and a “shredded” bladder. There was also damage to his abdomen, side, buttocks, legs and neck.

Brown spent weeks in the hospital as the result of his injuries and still requires ongoing care.

Sheriff Harris is being sued because the lawsuit alleges that he shares responsibility for the actions of his deputies. Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Troy Skeebo said the sheriff had no comment on the lawsuit.

“Isiah Brown’s life will never be the same after this tragic encounter with David Turbyfill,” Haynes said. “Our hope is that this lawsuit will provide a measure of justice.”

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

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