via New York Daily News:
Two Escambia County sheriff deputies have been placed on paid administrative leave after they opened fire early Sunday morning and shot an unarmed black man in his own driveway. Roy Middleton, 60, had gone to find cigarettes in his mother’s white Lincoln Town Car, which was parked in the driveway of the man’s home in a quiet neighborhood in the town of Warrington.
A neighbor, who apparently didn’t recognize Middleton, called 911 to report a possible robbery, and police arrived at the scene at approximately 2:40 a.m. Their guns drawn, deputies Jeremiah Meeks and Matthew White told Middleton to put his hands where the officers could see them.
Middleton told the Pensacola News Journal that he initially believed that the voices were from a neighbor who was playing a joke on him. When he got out of the car, however, the deputies began shooting.
“It was like a firing squad,” Middleton told PNJ from his bed at Baptist Hospital. “Bullets were flying everywhere.”
Middleton’s mother, Ceola Walker, 77, was sleeping inside the home at the time of the incident.
“He was just coming home like he usually does. I don’t understand why they had to use so much force under the situation,” Walker told Fox 10 News. “I don’t understand how they could fire so many shots at him. He wasn’t resisting or anything and he was at his own house.”
Walker said she later found 17 shell casings, and her Lincoln peppered with bullet holes. Neighbors and relatives describe Middleton as mild-mannered and law abiding, and a teenage girl who witnessed the shooting said she did not see the 60-year-old provoke the incident.
“He wasn’t belligerent or anything,” the girl told PNJ.
Middleton is still trying to figure out why the confrontation happened in the first place.
“Even if they thought the car was stolen, all they had to do was run the license plate,” Middleton said. “They would have seen that that car belonged there.”
Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting, and amid growing criticism, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan held a press conference Monday. According to Morgan, the two deputies said that Middleton “made a lunging motion” out of the car causing them to “fear for their safety.”
Middleton, Morgan said, “had a metallic object in his hand.” That object turned out to be a flashlight attached to Middleton’s key chain. The bones in Middleton’s leg are shattered and he will require the implantation of a steel rod in order to walk, but is expected to make a full recovery. Like her son, Middleton’s mother is still struggling to come to terms with what happened.
“He’s my only son and for that to happen was just devastating. We know it wasn’t anyone but God that saved him,” Walker told Fox 10.
Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said the deputies reported that, after they’d made multiple commands to Middleton to show his hands, he eventually lunged out of the car and spun toward them, causing them to “fear for their safety.”
“As much as we are trained and as much as officers which have Type A personalities like to say we are in control, we are not,” Morgan said at the conference.
Is the air too thin in Florida? What are they drinking? What are your thoughts? Post your comments below.
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