Man shot by Martin County detectives claims he thought he was being robbed

Posted at 11:23 PM, Jan 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-27 20:49:34-05

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. -- After spending two days at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center, Horace Brown has been released and booked into the Martin County jail on a $347,000 bond.

Brown was shot twice by two Martin County undercover narcotics detectives following an undercover drug buy.


Detectives said Brown tried to escape when they were moving in to make the arrest, smashing into several patrol vehicles. Detectives said they shot Brown when they thought he was going to hit deputies standing in the parking lot.


Tuesday, Horace spoke to reporters while he was being escorted into jail.


“I didn’t try to hit them. I didn’t know it was the police,” Brown said.


Brown, from Riviera Beach, claimed he thought he was being robbed and didn’t know deputies were the ones behind the wheel of the cars moving in on him.


That is why he claims he was driving away erratically.


“Where I’m from, you can get robbed by white men too. There ain’t no color on robbery,” Brown continued.


Brown still has two bullets lodged in his body, one in his throat, he said, as a result of the shooting.


While Brown claims he did not know law enforcement officers were surrounding him, deputies with the sheriff’s office say the detectives followed proper protocol during the undercover arrest when it comes to identifying themselves.


WPTV law enforcement expert, former Boca Raton Police Chief Andrew Scott explained what undercover officers are supposed to do when making an arrest.


Scott says lights should be turned on, especially for unmarked cars. Deputies should have a badge or uniform that identifies them as law enforcement. They can also yell ‘police’ to identify themselves. 


However, the undercover deputy involved in the drug buy does not have to be identifiable for their own safety.


Martin County deputies say their lights were turned on during the arrest. They were also wearing law enforcement gear with the word "sheriff."


Investigators photographed the deputies involved in the shooting while they were still in the same clothing to use as evidence to support that they were identifiable.


Scott says if a jury or judge buys Brown’s story over law enforcement's, some of the law enforcement related offenses he is facing could potentially be lessened or dropped. That could include charges such as fleeing and eluding law enforcement.


Brown is facing 15 different charges, including attempted sale of cocaine, attempted sale of hydromorphone, possession of cocaine, possession of hyrdomorphone, unlawful use of a two way communication device, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, fleeing and eluding law enforcement, resisting without violence and driving without a valid license.


Brown also told reporters that he does not deal drugs, but did not deny using drugs, including crack cocaine. “I smoke it, don’t I look like it?“ Brown said.


Deputies said they did not find any weapons on Brown.


The detectives involved in the shooting have not returned to work.


Brown will remain in the medical unit of the jail.


He is expected to make his first court appearance Friday afternoon.