Florida Sheriff: Cops who shot unarmed black man "followed standard protocols"

The county sheriff defended his officers who fired 15 shots at an unarmed 60-year-old in his own driveway

Published August 2, 2013 4:35PM (EDT)

   (Shutterstock/ mikeledray)
(Shutterstock/ mikeledray)

Florida's Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan sees nothing wrong with the fact that officers in his patrol fired 15 shots at an unarmed, 60-year-old black man. The sheriff told CNN that his officers were, in fact, following protocol perfectly.

Roy Middleton was in the driveway of his and his mother’s home when he was shot multiple times, as police arrived in the area in response to a 911 call about a suspected car theft. “Right now we are comfortable from a training perspective that our officers did follow standard protocols,” Morgan said. Via Think Progress:

On Thursday, Morgan defended the officers’ actions as standard procedure because Middleton “did not comply.” Asked by CNN’s Chris Cuomo how police could justify 15 shots at a 60-year-old man, Morgan said the officers saw a metallic object in Middleton’s hand as he made a “lunging movement” toward them. Middleton explained this in his account: He turned around because he thought the entire thing was a practical joke played by a neighbor... The officers are on paid administrative leave, pending an investigation.

In other race-pertinent police news: This week two white NYPD officers were given a slap on the wrist (placed on modified duty) for ordering an off-duty three-star police chief, with his ID around his neck, out of his department vehicle with his hands in the air. The police chief just so happened, like almost 90 percent of the 5 million-plus individuals stopped-and-frisked by the NYPD during Michael Bloomberg's years as mayor, to be black.

By Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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Florida Police Police Brutality Racism Stop-and-frisk