Jophery Brown was an African-American animal handler employed by International Genetic Technologies for the Jurassic Park project. He died in early June of 1993 due to an animal attack; his death set in motion a series of events which ultimately led to construction on Jurassic Park being halted later that year.
The name Jophery (also commonly spelled Jophrey, Joffrey, or Geoffrey) has English and French origins, and translates roughly to “God’s peace” or “peace of God.” The surname Brown is also English in origin, dating back to the 7th century and describing a person with brown hair, complexion, or clothing. Along with its original English origins it has also been created independently in the United States via Anglicization of other European-language surnames such as the Gaelic Brehon or German Braun. It became common in African-Americans due to the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Not much is known about Brown’s early life. The actor who portrayed him (who he is also named after, Jophery Brown) was born in 1945, but whether this is also the case for the fictional character is unknown.
Career at InGen
Sometime between the late 1980s and early 1990s, Brown was hired by International Genetic Technologies Security Division to work in animal handling. This suggests that he had some background with large or dangerous animals, but his employment history has not been disclosed. Brown worked at InGen’s highly secretive Jurassic Park facility on the Costa Rican island of Isla Nublar, where the Park was constructed between 1988 and 1993. His supervisor was Robert Muldoon, the Park’s game warden. It is unknown if Brown ever worked at the Site B facility on Isla Sorna where the animals were actually bred, or in San Diego where the Park was originally planned to be built.
While working at the Park, Brown would have been sworn to uphold the project’s secrecy. InGen scientists had discovered a way to recover ancient DNA of age many times in excess of what had been thought scientifically possible, and had since 1986 succeeded in cloning many species of Mesozoic life forms. With each new species came new challenges for all the Park’s employees. For Brown, the challenge would be keeping the animals safely contained; some references could be taken from modern animals, but these creatures were entirely new. There was no true precedent for how to properly handle them. These early days of de-extinction were filled with trial-and-error experimentation, of which Brown would have been a part.
One of the Park’s most troublesome residents was Velociraptor, a species of highly athletic carnivore with complex social behaviors and unprecedented problem-solving intelligence. Not long after the species was cloned, it was introduced to a habitat on Isla Nublar. The eighth such animal to be brought into the paddock, nicknamed The Big One by Muldoon, was exceptionally authoritative and destabilized the social structure of the pack. She ended up killing five of her fellow raptors in violent fights for the alpha position, bringing the population down to three. After this, the raptors’ behavior became more confrontational. When feeders went to the paddock to give the raptors their meals, The Big One led them in attacks against the sides of the electric fences, causing the employees to fear for their safety. Muldoon eventually realized in early 1993 that these attacks never struck the same place on a fence twice: they were testing the fences for weaknesses, disguising their probing as simple aggression toward the handlers.
While InGen’s CEO John Hammond ordered new raptors to be shipped to the island to replace those that had died, Muldoon oversaw the relocation of the problem raptors. A small holding pen was constructed not far from the visitor complex; the raptors would be held here where Security could watch them more closely. The relocation would take place in early June.
Death and legacy
Security tranquilized the three raptors and loaded them into a transport cage, moving them to the holding pen via forklift. The holding pen and cage each had a gate, and when the cage was rolled into place to be flush with the pen walls, both gates would have to be opened, allowing the animals to move into their new habitat. Brown was tasked with lifting and lowering the gate to the cage.
When everything was in place, he climbed up a ladder on the left side of the cage and reached the top. He was carefully watched by the raptors within the cage. At Muldoon’s orders, he lifted the cage gate, but the raptors did not enter the pen: instead, they rammed the rear of the cage, causing it to roll away from the pen. The sudden movement beneath his feet caused Brown to fall off the cage. Before he could get his bearings, a raptor grabbed him by his feet and attempted to drag him inside; he caught hold of the cage exterior to fight back. Muldoon came to his aid, with other Security staff using shock prods to fight off the raptors. On the outside of the cage, Muldoon held Brown by his arms and shoulders while on the inside, the raptors held his legs and waist; he was hefted off the ground, still struggling to maintain his grip on the cage frame. Muldoon ordered the men to shoot the attacking raptor, but his words were not heeded, and while shots were fired none of them hit an animal. Despite his best efforts, Muldoon’s strength was not enough to keep the raptors from dragging Brown into the cage. He was severely mauled, and between the blood loss and traumatic injuries, he did not survive the night.
His remains were presumably moved off the island to be interred; his family would have been given a cover story to maintain the secrecy of Jurassic Park. Whatever this story was, it did not satisfy Brown’s family, and they sued InGen for wrongful death to the tune of US $20,000,000 ($37,258,823.53 in 2021 after adjusting for inflation). Donald Gennaro was involved with the lawsuit, representing InGen and its investors, but he seemed to believe that the plaintiff would win the suit. InGen’s Board of Directors had already expressed doubts about Hammond’s project, and this lawsuit caused them to halt progress on the Park until it could be inspected by experts from outside the company. If the experts gave their endorsement, large-scale construction would resume.
This endorsement tour occurred on June 11, 1993 and was a failure. While the Park had numerous issues which the experts did point out, the real cause of the failure was sabotage from within the company; the financial issues within InGen, including the Brown lawsuit, had placed such strain on Jurassic Park employees that their chief programmer accepted a bribe to steal trade secrets. In order to cover up his tracks, he shut down the Park’s security systems, which led to irreparable damage including multiple deaths. InGen attempted to revive its project during the ensuing years to prevent financial disaster, but ultimately failed and sold out to Masrani Global Corporation.
In order to be hired by InGen for the Jurassic Park project, Brown must have had notable skills and experience in handling large and/or dangerous animals. His career history is undisclosed. The Park’s game warden, Robert Muldoon, was an experienced hunter who had worked in animal parks for over twenty years; he passed on his skills to his employees. Brown could most likely handle weapons such as shock prods and the Franchi SPAS-12, both of which were standard armaments for InGen Security employees as of 1993.
Brown was able-bodied and reasonably strong at the time of his death, which was likely part of how he secured his job. He was capable of holding himself on the exterior of a metal cage frame using the strength of his arms against the tugging and pulling of between one and three Velociraptor antirrhopus on his legs, but did succumb to them after around forty seconds.
As he accepted a job at a de-extinction theme park (though he would not have known about its inhabitants until well into the hiring process), Brown must have to some degree believed that the Park would be viable and a worthy place of employment. Other than this, his views on the ethics of de-extinction are not known.
Most of Brown’s family relationships are not known. After his death, his family sued InGen for US $20,000,000, leading to a halt on Jurassic Park’s construction and investigations into its safety.
At InGen, Brown’s supervisor was Robert Muldoon, an experienced game warden and hunter. Their relationship at work is not well known, but Muldoon would have taught Brown and the other animal handlers everything he believed would help them keep the Park safe. He referred to Brown using his first name, suggesting a degree of workplace familiarity. During the disastrous raptor relocation, Muldoon attempted to save Brown’s life, but the poor performance of other Security staff caused his efforts to be in vain. After Brown’s death, Muldoon doubled down on his insistence that the raptors be euthanized, considering them an unnecessary danger. Whether or not Muldoon and Brown knew each other well, it is clear that Muldoon took his failure to save this man’s life very personally.
Other InGen staff
While he would have been under the employ of John Hammond (and previously Benjamin Lockwood), it is unlikely that this lowly member of InGen’s Security force would have often met with his company’s leaders. Instead, his close relationships would have been with other members of Jurassic Park’s animal control team and the maintenance workers he most often assisted with operations. The highest-ranking staff he would have known would have included Dr. Gerry Harding, the leader of the Park’s veterinary team, and John Raymond “Ray” Arnold, the Park’s chief engineer. His services would have aided these staff members and their employees safely interact with the animals and ensure that the Park’s security systems were properly functioning. It is possible that he knew research geneticist Dr. Laura Sorkin, who often worked in the field with the animals, or her assistant David Banks.
Brown’s associates failed to save his life during the incident with the raptors, and his death had devastating effects for InGen. He is the first person confirmed to have died in the course of the Jurassic Park project, and his family sued the company for wrongful death. This led to a halt on major construction by the Board of Directors, who demanded a safety inspection of the Park by outside experts. Accompanying them was Donald Gennaro, who represented InGen’s investors during the inspection. The lawsuit and other financial pressures tore InGen apart from within; the chief programmer Dennis Nedry was bribed by a corporate rival to steal trade secrets, and he used the endorsement tour as cover. This attempt shut down Jurassic Park’s security systems and caused a major incident which halted construction indefinitely. InGen did not truly get back on its feet until it was bought out by Masrani Global Corporation after lingering on the brink of bankruptcy.
Brown’s job at Jurassic Park was to keep the animals safely contained, preventing harm to either the animals themselves or to Park staff. At the time of his death, Jurassic Park housed several animal species: Brachiosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Tyrannosaurus, Dilophosaurus, Gallimimus, Triceratops, and Velociraptor. It is unknown whether Herrerasaurus arrived to the island before or after Brown’s death. Tylosaurus existed on the island but was kept under wraps for the time being, and Troodon was similarly not on the official Park list due to Hammond and Muldoon’s disapproval of it. Compsognathus was on the island, but as this was unplanned, most staff did not know about it. At the moment it is not clear whether the pterosaur Pteranodon had been introduced to the island yet.
The Park’s most problematic inhabitants were the raptors, especially the three that remained after a bloody fight for authority killed most of the population. These raptors regularly attacked the electric fences around their paddock, looking for weak points to break through; their worrying behavior led to them being relocated in early June 1993. The relocation ended in tragedy for Brown, as he was seized by the raptors during the process and mauled to death. He was the first confirmed death of a human from de-extinct animals.
Jophrey Brown is portrayed by stuntman and Major League Baseball pitcher Jophery C. Brown. His character is not named in the credits of Jurassic Park, and his first name is given only by Robert Muldoon; he is credited simply as a worker at the raptor pen. His last name was given in the video game LEGO: Jurassic World, making his full name the same as that of his actor (who passed away on January 11, 2014).
He is not based on a specific character in Michael Crichton‘s novel, but has a role comparable to a young worker who dies after being mauled by a Velociraptor in one of the early scenes.
José (CB-Topps) – replaces the role of Jophery Brown in the Topps comic books