Last Saturday, Roy Middleton went out to get a cigarette out of his mother’s car. A short time later, he would end up shot and bleeding on his driveway. Not the victim of a drive by or mugging mind you. The unarmed man was shot by police responding to a call of a man reaching into a car.
Middleton, 60, went out to the car at 2:42 am. I can understand why at that time a neighbor was concerned since car thefts tend to occur very late at night or in the early hours. He was bent over when the police arrived. and ordered him to “Get your hands where I can see them.” He says that he raised his hands and turned toward the deputies but that they opened fire. He was hit in the leg.
The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment on the incident Saturday.
Since he appears unarmed, the officers would have to argue that there was an object in his hand or some other reason that they thought he had a weapon. Given the relatively minor crime under investigation and his alleged compliance with the officers’ orders, this makes for a particularly bad case for the city to defend. It will be interesting therefore to see any response from the city, which should offer some initial explanation to the citizens when their own police gun down an unarmed man in his family’s driveway.