A 60-year-old man was shot by police in his own driveway — the officers involved mistakenly thought the man was a car thief.
Roy Middleton lives in Pensacola, Florida. He was in his driveway at 2:30am on July 27 getting a cigarette from his mother’s Lincoln Town Car. Middleton lives with his mother and wife, and his name is listed on the car’s insurance.
But one of Middleton’s neighbors saw him in the driveway, became suspicious of a car break in, and then called police.
Officers Jeremiah Meeks, Sgt. Matthew White and Charles Wright promptly arrived at Middleton’s house a few minutes later. As soon as they spotted Middleton, they ordered the man to put his hands in the air. According to the officers, Middleton then hesitated to take their order.
It was then that they shot the man. 15 bullets were fired, two of which hit Middleton in the legs.
The officers continue to defend their actions, claiming that they had reasonable cause to fire after Middleton did not follow their orders. They also claim Middleton appeared to reach for a metal object after refusing to put his hands up.
Sheriff Morgan, the officers’ superior, said, “There was nothing glaringly apparent to us that the officers did that was out of the ordinary in the given set of circumstances as have been given to us.”
Middleton, on the other hand, told a different story.
He claimed he was not asked for identification or asked any questions before being shot. The metal object he was reaching for was a keychain, he said.
After the shooting, Middleton had to get surgery to put metal rods in his left leg. He can now do little without feeling severe pain.
Middleton said, “I ask myself why they shot me first. And why they shot me so many times afterwards. Yeah, I ask why — that’s all I can ask is why.”
Currently, the officers involved are on paid leave while investigators get to the bottom of the issue and determine if charges will be brought against them.
Middleton said he will be filing a civil lawsuit against the officers for excessive force. He wants them to cover his medical bills, but he said more importantly he wants an apology.
Middleton said he has been living in agony since the event, and suffers from traumatic nightmares. His wife Sharlet said, “He still tries to be the Roy that we all know, but he’s not.”
Do you think the officers had probable cause to shoot Middleton? Let us know in the comments section below.