WARRINGTON, Fla. – Two Escambia County Sheriff deputies who shot an unarmed black man in his own driveway early Sunday morning told reporters that the confrontation “wasn’t really their fault.” The deputies—who have been placed on paid administrative leave—said that the victim “should have known better” than to be outside at night, since “this is what happens in Florida after sunset.”
Authorities say that Roy Middleton, 60, was searching in his mother’s car for a cigarette when a neighbor—who did not recognize Middleton—called the police to report a possible burglary. The responding deputies reportedly told Middleton to exit the vehicle with his hands up. When Middleton turned the deputies fired fifteen rounds, “shattering Middleton’s leg and riddling the car with bullets.”
“I mean, what did he expect?” complained one of the deputies, whose name has not yet been released. “Who goes rummaging through their car at two in the morning? He should have known what could have happened. He’s black, and after all, this is Florida.”
Middleton, who was unarmed, said he believed someone was playing a joke on him until he turned around.
“Being in your driveway in the middle of the night is no joke,” said Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan, defending his deputies’ actions. “It would be one thing if this was broad daylight, but it wasn’t. These deputies did exactly what any Floridian would do. You see a dark-skinned person outside past 9 p.m., you shoot first, ask questions later.”
“Hopefully Middleton’s destroyed femur will serve as a lesson to others who consider venturing outside past dusk,” Morgan said. “But, honestly, I doubt it. I don’t get why these people just don’t stay indoors at night. That’s when all the good shows are on.”