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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Pastor Lee Middleton's Pregnant Daughter Slammed Down, Hogtied, and Wife Arrested--A Deputy's Tall Tale

"Officers breaking the law instead of enforcing the law says a lot about your department.  It says a lot about the Sheriff.  I voted for him.  I regret it."  Pastor Lee E. Middleton, Jr. Alpha & Omega Missionary Baptist Church, April 5, 2015.

"If I hear another motherfucking word word I'll put your Black ass in the motherfucking car."  "I hate the Middletons.  You all should go back to Alabama."  Deputy Holcombe alleged statement to Pastor and Mrs. Middleton on March 18, 2015, at 30 Norwood Drive.

Above: Far Left, Shakita; Far Right, Shaquita.
Below: Pastor Lee E. Middleton, Jr. and Mrs. Lucille Middleton.


This is a tale of two narratives regarding the arrests of Pastor Middleton's wife, Mrs. Lucille Middleton, and their 23-year old pregnant daughter Shaquita (about 8 weeks), on March 18, 2015--less than three weeks ago.  No doubt, it is a story you have never heard about because with the exception of The Pensacola Voice (April 2-8, 2015) the media in Pensacola did not write about it.

Normally, the media in the interest of fairness presents two sides.  The Pensacola Voice did just that--leaving the readers to having to choose between a version of the truth presented by Pastor and Mrs. Middleton, and the version of the truth in the Escambia County Sheriff's Office arrest report.

The version of the events presented in CJ's Street Report differs significantly from the PV story in that it subjects the police report to critical analysis, as well as digging a bit deeper into the story.

In fact, after subjecting Deputy Michael John HOLCOMBE's police report to critical scrutiny, it will be shown that the police report is in error and written in manner placing all the blame on the pregnant Shaquita and none of the blame on the Escambia County Sheriff Office's deputies who responded to a disturbance at 49 Norwood Drive, off Lillian Highway near Escambia High School and may have escalated a confrontation that was in the process of calming down.

It is important to note at the outset that Shaquita Middleton stands four feet, 10 inches and weighs 135 pounds.

The Middleton's told me and the PV that seven ECSO deputies responded to the call of a disturbance, but the Arrest Report (ECSO15ARR005082) names only four deputies responding:  Deputy John Michael HOLCOMBE, who wrote the arrest report and apparently was in charge at the scene; Deputy Mildred SMALLWOOD; Deputy Brandon GODFREY; and, Deputy Stephen HOUSAM.

Assuming that the three male deputies weighed 175 pounds and the female deputy 125 pounds, the ECSO deputies outweighed Shaquita Middleton 650 pounds to 135 pounds.  The only deputy not exclusively focused on Shaquita Middleton was Deputy Smallwood who was first engaged with Shaquita and then engaged with Mrs. Lucille Middleton.  Thus, three male deputes with an assumed combined weight of 525 pounds were needed to subdue a pregnant Shaquita Middleton.  At no time was any deputy assigned to prevent Pastor Middleton who, according to the police report, weighed 252 pounds.

What Was The Disturbance About?

The Middleton's twin daughters, Shaquita and Shakita, went to 49 Norwood Drive, not far from where the Middleton's live at 30 Norwood Drive.  The twins went to retrieve clothes that the daughter of Nikeycha Reyes (37 years old) and step-dad Reynold Cortes (41 years old) had borrowed and not returned.  Shakita called her mother Mrs. Middleton at 2127 hours and told her that they would not return the clothes.  Pastor and Mrs. Middleton arrived at about three minutes later to a scene of arguing and commotion.  Nikeycha's daughter, according to the Middletons, allegedly called Shakita a "bitch."  The daughter then allegedly punched Shakita in the face and the mother Nikeycha allegedly joined her daughter in the physical assault.

The step-dad, Reynold Cortes, according to the Middleton's, allegedly said, "I'm going to get my piece."  Cortes went into the house and came back out.  It is unclear if he had armed himself.  By this time, a neighbor had apparently called the Sheriff's Office and a deputy arrived at about 2130 hours.  According to the Middleton's whoever this deputy was, he was not mentioned in the arrest report.  He did manage to break up the argument between the two girls.  According to the official arrest report, Deputy Holcombe and other units (with lights and sirens, according to the Middletons) arrived at 2135 hours.

The Street Report has tried to contact Reynold Cortes, but he has not responded to text messages and phone calls to his business number.  His business is finding recruits for a business entity called the "Motor Club of America."  At one time, the Motor Club of America was a respectable and profitable insurance company.  Now, even Cortes reveals that his business venture leaves much to be desired.  According to one webpage he has for the MCA, he claimed that MCA had "less than $100,000" in "annual revenue" while having "over 10,000 employees."  Now, even a third grader can figure out that each employee is generating less than $10 per year in revenue.  HERE

On his business MCA website he takes on the claim that MCA is a "scam."  According to Cortes, "Stated bluntly, Motor Club of America is not a scam.... It only costs $40.00 to Become [sic] an associate With [sic] MCA and the opportunity to quadruple the return on investment of investment is certainly possible.  Every Friday, members are paid $80.00 for each member they refer to Motor Club of America."  HERE

Now, if the entire company is only generating less than $10 per employee per year, how is it possible for the company to pay each associate $80 every Friday?  I do not know.

Ethan Vanderbilt, who specializes in exposing dodgy Internet marketing appeals as a "Scam Buster," wrote this about the Motor Club of America in June 2013, about six months before Reynold Cortes joined MCA and began promoting it:  "In my opinion what they have done with MCA is create a marketing scam by selling it as a business opportunity.... Their official website is crap.  Their product is uncompetitive.  To top it all off they throw in a pyramid scheme compensation plan to complete the ripoff.... The Motor Club of America scam is all about conning as many people as possible into joining the business opportunity and not about selling towing."  HERE

By March 26th, within one week after the incident between the residents of 49 Norwood Drive and Shaquita Middleton, the entire family had skedaddled to parts unknown, but believed to be Kissimmee, Florida, judging from other postings from Cortes.  In other words, Shaquita Middleton was legitimately trying to retrieve clothes she owned from a family with one breadwinner who apparently tries to earn a living grifting.  HERE  HERE

The Confrontation: The Truthiness of the ECSO Arrest Report ECSO15ARR005082

According to the arrest report, Deputy Holcombe stated that at "2135 hours, I responded with other units to an active disturbance at 49 Norwood Drive."  According to Deputy Holcombe's arrest report, "S/Chaquita Middleton was actively enticing a confrontation with the residents there," naming Reyes and Cortes.  According the report, Shaquita Middleton was "screaming profanities in a loud, boisterous manner" and ignored directives from her father, Pastor Middleton, to return to the family's home.  According to Deputy Holcombe's arrest report, he heard Deputy Smallwood directed Shaquita "at least three times to stop using profane language and go home or she would be arrested."  The report states that Shaquita responded, "'I don't give a fuck about no police, this shit ain't over.'"

According to the Middleton's account given to The Pensacola Voice, Mrs. Middleton stated that "Chaquita responded, 'Ok, I'm going to be quiet.'"  The TPV account continues that the female officer, Deputy Smallwood handcuffed "began to handcuff" Shaquita when "three male deputies threw her to the ground smashing her face into the street and forcefully placing their knees in her back.  Both parents said they told the officers that their daughter was pregnant."

At this point Deputy Holcombe's arrest report wades into the area of "truthiness."

According to the report, Deputy Smallwood took out her handcuffs, stepped forward, and instructed Shaquita "to put her hands behind her back and that she was under arrest."  In other words, Deputy Smallwood was in close to proximity to Shaquita.  The report states that Shaquita "refused lawful requests by snatching her arm away forcefully and lowering her shoulder, balling up her fists and attempting to strike Deputy Smallwood.  The action was very quick and Deputy Smallwood was not able to react; therefore, I immediately moved in to protect her from being struck and forcefully placed S/Chaquita on her stomach in the middle of the street."

We are to believe that Deputy Smallwood, an officer awarded the Medal of Courage for her work during Hurricane Katrina, was too slow to react to an action from a 4' 10" 135-pound woman.  We are also asked to believe that this very same 4' 10" 135-pound pregnant woman was that quick.

According to Pastor Middleton, Deputy Smallwood was located directly in front of Shaquita at a distance of two feet.  Deputy Holcombe was at a 45-degree angle to the right and behind Deputy Smallwood at a distance of an additional two more feet.  Thus, at best, Deputy Holcombe was about three or four feet away from Shaquita--depending on how one calculates the geometry.  Deputy Holcombe, possessing extremely quick reactions, was able to intervene to protect Deputy Smallwood (his damsel in distress).  Deputy Smallwood, a decorated officer and a trained officer cannot react to the speed of Shaquita's alleged movement.  She is, in other words, helpless.

In this case we are asked to believe that a young woman who knew she was pregnant, whose parents knew she was pregnant, was preparing to charge at a female deputy knowing that she was surrounded by about 650 pounds of Escambia County Sheriff deputies.

Deputy Holcombe's "truthy" account becomes even less credible with what happened next.

Even taking Deputy Holcombe's assertion that the 4' 10" 135-pound Shaquita was not handcuffed when he "forcefully placed S/Chaquita on her stomach in the middle of the street" his account does not seem trustworthy.  "Forcefully placed" is a euphemism for body slammed.  The arrest report stated that the Crime Scene technician photographed Shaquita with "abrasions on her forehead."

According to his account in the arrest report, now on her stomach, Shaquita "began to actively fight our efforts to place her in handcuffs and spun around onto her back and spit directly on me hitting my uniform in the area of my chest.  She also attempted to strike me in the face with a closed fist; however, I blocked it with my arm preventing her from striking me.... I grabbed [her] and spun her back around onto her stomach and with the assistance of other deputies, finally secured her in handcuffs."

This description suggests Shaquita Middleton possessed almost superhuman strength and speed to resist "our efforts" to subdue her.  "Our efforts" suggests that at least one other deputy was helping Deputy Holcombe.  But, even if we assume that Deputy Holcombe was on top of Shaquita, is it believable that this pregnant woman, probably outweighed by at least 50 pounds, was able to execute a wrestling move by flipping from her stomach to her back so that she could attempt to punch Deputy Holcombe in the face?

Deputy Holcombe's description of Shaquita Middleton's actions almost sounds like she was possessed or feral.  She is spitting and attempting to bite and punch and spinning around.

A couple of sentences later, Deputy Holcombe has a Freudian slip.  With Shaquita now in handcuffs and on her stomach, the deputy substituted Shaquita for the actions of Mrs. Middleton.

According to the arrest report, Mrs. Middleton "attempted to interfere by charging up quickly about two feet from my position."  However, this time Deputy Smallwood is not so helpless or slow.  Now Deputy Smallwood "intervened to prevent S/Lucille Middleton from interfering and pushed her backwards; however, S/Chaquita Middleton charged again towards me and was shoved back a second time by Deputy Smallwood.  S/Lucille Middleton's actions caused us further difficulty with an already combative S/Chaquita Middleton who was violent and aggressive towards law enforcement."

Having a complete day to recollect what had happened the previous day, write his report, edit his report, and have somebody else read the report for clarity, Deputy Holcombe implies that the 135-pound Shaquita Middleton was able to escape from Deputy Holcombe and charge him.  Obviously, it is a mistake of editing.  But, psychologically Deputy Holcombe and others who read the report before it was published saw nothing wrong with the report.  Mentally and psychologically it was plausible to them that the handcuffed Shaquita Middleton could escape the grasp and charge again.

The apparently possessed and/or feral Shaquita Middleton continued once Deputy Holcombe "grabbed [her] by the back of the neck and forced her head down while we were still walking toward the car to prevent her from further spitting on law enforcement personnel.  Once secured inside the patrol car [she] attempted to kick out Deputy Godfrey's back windows."

Is it even possible for someone who is 4' 10" inches and handcuffed, presumably with their hands behind their back, to re-position themselves in a way that they can attempt to kick out the back window of a police car?  Are we to believe that the pregnant Shaquita Middleton went wild?  That she went beserk?

Deputy Holcombe stated that he next removed Shaquita Middleton from the patrol car and she was "hobbled."  According to Pastor Middleton, a plastic tie was connected to Shaquita's feet and connected to the handcuffs so that she "hog-tied."  The officers were laughing at Shaquita and Deputy Smallwood "pulled her hair."

According to the arrest report, Deputy Holcombe next put a "spit mask" on Shaquita.  A Google search of "spit mask police" yields several different types.  Some appear to be a mesh that can be seen through; another is a bag with two eye holes; and, another looks something an outlaw would wear in a Western movie. The Middletons described the "spit mask" as a bag over their daughter's head.

Finally, Deputy Holcombe's account of the arrest of Mrs. Middleton shifts from "truthiness" to the bizarre.  In fact, the account is not even believable unless one suspends belief as one would do to watch a science fiction movie.

According to Deputy Holcombe's arrest report, Mrs. Middleton, at 49 Norwood Drive, "turned and began walking towards her residence at 30 Norwood Drive ignoring my numerous commands.  I had to run to catch S/Lucille who was attempting to get inside her residence, finally catching her in her driveway.  While attempting to handcuff S/Lucille Middleton, she spun around and pulled away from me in an attempt to defeat my attempts to handcuff her.  After a brief struggle, I was able to successfully secure her without injury to myself or the suspect."

Deputy Holcombe, his superiors, and Sheriff David Morgan want us to believe that Mrs. Lucille Middleton could power walk so fast that Deputy Holcombe had to "run to catch" her and did not catch her until she traveled from 49 Norwood to 30 Norwood.

Bear in mind that Deputy Holcombe's arrest report (ECSO15ARR005083) described Mrs. Middleton as 43-years old, 5' 4" inches tall, and 200 pounds, though she is much closer to 175 pounds.

Now, I'm 63 years old and weigh at least 220 pounds, and I doubt that Mrs. Middleton could out-walk me.  Or, that she could walk so fast that I would have to run to catch her and would only catch her at the end of her power walk.

According to Mrs. Middleton account, after her daughter was arrested, she did indeed take a two- or three-minute walk home.  At that point she was arrested.  But, Deputy Holcombe did not run to catch up to her.  According to Mrs. Middleton, Deputy Holcombe drove to her house and arrested her for resisting or obstructing an officer without violence.

In fact, the Street Report has located a witness close to the Middletons who saw Deputy Holcombe drive his SUV to the Middleton's house and then put on his lights just before coming to a stop.  That is right, he drove, he did not run.

Now, a Deputy Sheriff completely misrepresenting a simple action--whether he had to run to catch up to a speedy power walker or he drove his SUV--impeaches his entire report.  What was "truthiness" starts shading into something closer to gross exaggeration with malice to arrest members of a family he allegedly "hated."

Once at the house and apparently away from the other deputies, Deputy Holcombe allegedly told Pastor Middleton and Mrs. Middleton, "I hate the Middletons.  You all should go back to Alabama."  Deputy Holcombe allegedly added, "I hope Norwood blows up" which Pastor Middleton interpreted to mean that he hoped we [the Middletons] would blow up.

The Truthiness of the Arrest Report in a Broader Context

Now, Deputy Holcombe's description of Shaquita Middleton "lowering her shoulder" and "balling up her fist and attempting to strike" rings a bell.  Deputy Holcombe's description of the 200-pound Mrs. Middleton being able to power walk so fast that a presumably fit and capable deputy sheriff had to run to catch up to her also rings a memory bell.

Deputy Holcombe's description of Shaquita Middleton and Mrs. Lucille Middleton, while not exactly the same, has a similar description of Black folks having supernatural powers given by Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department in his deadly shooting of Michael Brown.

Wilson described feeling while grabbing Michael Brown that he was "'holding onto Hulk Hogan.'"  Michael Brown was so fast that Officer Wilson told the Grand Jury, "'I see him start to run and I see a cloud of dust behind him.'"  Chauncey DeVega commented, "Brown ran away from Wilson so fast that he left a trail of dust at his feet in a manner akin to that of a Looney Tunes cartoon character."  HERE

Chauncey DeVega, the founder of the We Are Respectable Negroes blog, wrote of Wilson's descriptions of Michael Brown in the context of how whites perceive the Black body:  "White racial paranoiac thinking turns the black and brown body into a weapon and monstrous Other as viewed by the White Gaze.  Because the White Gaze is the lens of White Supremacy, the black or brown victim is made into the aggressor because white racial paranoiac thinking distorts reality.  The White Gaze is ethically, morally, and philosophically corrupt as it warps empirical facts to support the material and psychological wages of Whiteness."  HERE

Concluding Observation

Readers of this blog post will have to choose between the official arrest report prepared by Deputy Holcombe and the narrative of the same sequence of events from the perspective of Pastor Middleton and his wife Mrs. Middleton.

But, readers should consider that the arrest report prepared by Deputy Holcombe has the characteristic of truthiness.

We are asked to believe that Shaquita Middleton is so quick that a trained veteran officer, Deputy Mildred Smallwood, standing two feet away could not react quick enough to defend herself from the 135-pound pregnant Shaquita Middleton.  The arrest report lists Shaquita's weight as 165 pounds, while the Middleton's said she was 135 pounds.

Not only is Shaquita Middleton quick, but Deputy Holcombe is even quicker.  From three or four feet away he was able to body slam her to the pavement and save Deputy Smallwood from injury.

We have to choose between Deputy Holcombe's account that Shaquita Middleton was not handcuffed when he body slammed her face-first into the street pavement, or, the Middleton's account that she was handcuffed when body slammed.

We are asked to believe that Shaquita Middleton, knowing she was pregnant, began to spit and bite and punch while confronting three trained deputy sheriffs.

We are asked to believe that once slammed into the pavement without handcuffs, according to Deputy Holcombe's account, that she was able to execute a spin move, spit on him, and attempt to punch him in the face.

We are asked to believe that once Shaquita Middleton was handcuffed and placed into a patrol car, that she re-positioned herself on the backseat and began to kick out the rear window of the police car.

We are asked to believe that the 200-pound Mrs. Middleton was able to power walk so fast that Deputy Holcombe was forced to run the entire distance from 49 Norwood to 30 Norwood.  Suddenly, the cat-like quickness of Deputy Holcombe becomes the slow motion blob of the science fiction movie.

Finally, the descriptions of the actions and capabilities of Shaquita Middleton and Mrs. Middleton suggest that they are almost super human.  This characterization is consistent with social science research that Chauncey DeVega had cited in his article.

Readers will choose between two versions of the truth.  One account appears less credible than the other.

1 comment:

  1. OMG! There is a lot of untruthfulness in all these stories. But a disagreement between teenagers; the adults get dragged in; words are said; neighbors complain; "I'll get my piece". Give me a break! Where is the adult behavior here? Can you imagine yourself as the cop trying to break it up?