In a prepared statement, the Ministers of the Baptist Union stood together Saturday evening at True Vine Baptist Church issuing a declaration of solidarity for the Middleton family and asking questions that the community has been seeking answers to from the Escambia County Sherrif’s Department surrounding the shooting of Mr. Roy Middleton.
Some of the questions they are seeking answers to are: 1. Why was Mr. Middleton gunned down in front of his home when he did not pose an imminent threat of danger or bodily harm to himself, the public, or any of the officers around him? 2. Why was Mr. Middleton gunned down in front of his home when he was not engaged in any illegal or unlawful behavior at the time of the incident? 3. Why was Mr. Middleton gunned down when his hands were in plain sight and the car that he was attempting to reach in to was lit? 4. Why was Mr. Middleton gunned down by two officers when he attempted to compoy with directives given by the officers to place his arms in the surrendering position, but was shot before he could complete this action? 5. Why did the third officer, who arrived at the same time as the two other deput9ies, who observed the same facts, did not find that the circumstances and facts necessary to warrant the discharge of his service revolver. 6. Why was Mr. Middleton shot at 15 plus times?
“We want the Walker and Middleton family to know that we feel their pain and this could have happened to any of our loved ones,” said Rev. Isaac L. Williams, pastor of Greater True Vine Baptist Church.
When asked as to what the ministers would like to see happen as a result of these incidents he stated “WE want to suggest to the Sherriff’s Department that there must be some type of sensitivity training when it relates to the community and when you go into the community, the concerns of all citizens need to be respected.” We will wait until the results are in (the investigation) before we go any further.”
The ministers further stated that they have made an effort to make an appointment to meet with the Sherriff to sit down and have a dialogue with him regarding the issues. As of yet he has not responded.
“This is not about politics for us we are seeking justice and we will support other organizations in the community,” sated Rev. Williams. “We want to go on record that we are standing in solidarity with this family.”
Representing the Baptist Ministers Union were: Rev. Michael Johnson of Sixth Avenue Baptist Church, Rev. Larry Jenkins of Greater True Vine Baptist Church, Rev. Larry Watson Sr of Englewood Missionary Baptist Church and President of the Baptist Ministers Union of Pensacola, Pastor Isaac Williams of Greater True Vine Baptist Church, Minister Angelo Feliciano, Greater True Vine Baptist Church, Rev. Young of Mt. Canaan Baptist Church, Rev. Lonnie Wesley III of Greater Little Rock and Rev. LuTimothy May of Friendship Baptist Church.