Date: September 30, 2013
Officer: Jeremiah Meeks and Matthew White
Charged: No, placed on paid administrative duty
Roy Middleton was at his mother’s house in Escambia County, Florida, on July 27, 2013. He wanted a cigarette at around 2:30 a.m., so he went to his mother’s car to retrieve one. A neighbor thought there was an intruder trying to steal his mother’s car, so they called the police. Police arrived to the scene on a call of a possible car burglary, pulling up behind the car parked in the driveway. As they shined their flashlights, Middleton thought the neighbors were playing a prank on him. He then realized that it was the police and followed their orders. A neighbor witnessing the scene agreed that Middleton followed police orders to get out of the car with his hands up, but then dipped his head back in the car for a quick second. Middleton says that he got out of the car, put his hands up, then when he turned towards the police, they started shooting. The police claim that Middleton had a shiny object in his hand and lunged at them with it. They then shot 15 rounds at Middleton, thinking that the object was a gun. Two shots hit Middleton, shattering his leg. He was taken to the hospital and had metal rods placed in his leg to hold the bone together. The object that police thought was a gun was a gold flashlight on a keychain with a car key.
The deputies involved in the shooting were Deputy Jeremiah Meeks and Deputy Matthew White. They were placed on administrative leave following the shooting and during the investigation. A grand jury decided not to charge the deputies, claiming there wasn’t sufficient evidence to suggest that they were guilty. Although Roy Middleton survived the shooting at 60 years old, he died four years later on July 8, 2016. His daughter filed a lawsuit against the sheriff’s office for damages, pain, and suffering related to the shooting. The lawsuit also states excessive use of force by the deputies, a violation of Middleton’s Constitutional rights, and improper training by the sheriff’s office.
Adams, D. (2013, July 31). Florida man, mistaken for a robber, shot in his driveway by police (E. Beech, Ed.). Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-florida-police-shooting/florida-man-mistaken-for-a-robber-shot-in-his-driveway-by-police-idUSBRE97000Z20130801
Grand Jury: No Charges Against Deputies In Two Shootings. (2013, October 16). Retrieved from http://www.northescambia.com/2013/10/grand-jury-no-charges-against-deputies-in-two-shootings
Kennedy, E. (2017, May 19). ECSO sued over 2013 shooting of unarmed black man. Retrieved from https://www.pnj.com/story/news/crime/2017/05/19/ecso-sued-over-2013-shooting-unarmed-black-man/101881564/
Pensacola News Journal. (2016, July 13). Roy Middleton Obituary. Retrieved from https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/pensacolanewsjournal/obituary.aspx?n=roy-howard-middleton&pid=180644575&fhid=10284
Phillips, R. (2013, August 21). Roy Middleton, Florida man mistakenly shot by deputies, wonders why. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2013/08/21/us/florida-shot-by-mistake/index.html
WEAR-TV Digital Staff. (2017, May 22). Family files federal lawsuit for shooting of Roy Middleton. Retrieved from https://weartv.com/news/local/family-files-federal-lawsuit-for-shooting-of-roy-middleton