Unarmed Black man shot by police in Virginia while on phone to emergency services

A Black man who was shot by a police officer in Virginia was on the phone to emergency services at the time of the shooting, authorities say.

The officer shot 32-year-old Isaiah Brown while attending a family harm incident on Wednesday morning (local time), CNN reports citing Virginia police statements. Brown was taken to hospital with serious injuries but is now in stable condition. 

Brown's family lawyer David Haynes said the shooting was "completely avoidable" and the police officer involved and mistaken Brown's phone for a gun.

"The deputy in question made multiple, basic policing errors and violated established protocols," Haynes told CNN. "The deputy was situated nearly 50 feet from Isaiah, was never threatened, and should not have discharged his weapon.

"Isaiah is now fighting for his life as a result of these completely avoidable errors by the deputy and dispatch."

According to audio of the call to police, heard by NBC News, Brown had called 911 because his brother had locked him out of his mother's room. That prompted police to recognise it as a domestic violence callout. 

When the police officer arrives, he's heard saying "He's got a gun to his head" and "drop the gun!" He then opens fire.

An investigation into the incident is underway and the police officer involved has been stood down, NBC reports.

Isaiah Brown.
Isaiah Brown. Photo credit: NBC 4

The shooting comes after days of heightened tensions in the US following the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who was found guilty this week of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter for the 2020 killing of 46-year-old Black man George Floyd.

During the same week, 42-year-old Andrew Brown was fatally shot by a police officer in North Carolina and a teenage girl was shot dead by police on Tuesday.

Ma'Khia Bryant was also killed by police less than hour before the conviction of Chauvin.