PENSACOLA, Fla. (W:ALA) - Concerned citizens, civil rights advocates and even an Escambia County commissioner came together Friday, August 2 to discuss possible action in responses to the Roy Middleton deputy-involved shooting.
Commissioner Lumon May was present as the group called for action.
"I'm asking for Sheriff Morgan to immediately dismiss those two [deputies] without pay," Jeane Boyd of Movement or Change said.
They are Deputy Jeremiah Meeks and Sergeant Matthew White, on paid administrative leave after firing at least 15 shots at 60-year-old Roy Middleton Saturday, July 27 while responding to a vehicle theft call.
They said Middleton had an unknown object in his raised hand, and lunged at them, all the while not obeying their commands.
Middleton refutes those claims, saying he was holding only a keychain.
This group said the incident reflects poor training in the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.
"I think that Sheriff Morgan should have sat down with them and discussed the matter with them to find out why? And not only why did they shoot him, but why did it take so many shots before they decided to stop? I'm assuming they ran out of bullets," Boyd said.
At a news conference Monday, Morgan attributed the number of shots fired to officer anxiety.
"We had, at that time, believed to be a suspect, who was non-compliant with the officer's instructions," Sheriff Morgan said. "The officer feared that he had a weapon in his hand and he fired."
Nation of Island Minister Mustafaa Abdul Muhammad says the group spoke in voice, challenging Sheriff Morgan's claims.
"This is an error, this is wrong, and Sheriff Morgan you insult our intelligence to refer to this brother as the suspect, when he was in his own home in his own drive space, he is considered the suspect," Muhammad said. "Are you suggesting to us that he is guilty until proven innocent?"
FOX10 News reached out to Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan regarding the meeting. We were told through a sheriff's office spokesperson that Morgan will not comment on a meeting he wasn't invited to, relying on third party information.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement continues to investigate the shooting.
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