Deltona, FL - A 55-year-old man is facing an assault charge with a hate crime enhancement after deputies say he followed another man home and threatened to kill him and his family while calling them racial slurs.
The Volusia Sheriff's Office (VSO) says deputies learned about the incident just before midnight on Thursday (July 15) after the victim, a 34-year-old African-American man, explained that he was driving home when he got into a traffic-related dispute with the suspect over merging. He said the white male then followed him to his house, got out of his vehicle, and began to approach the house. According to the victim's narrative, the man was already making statements about killing his family.
At that point, the victim stated that he lifted his shirt to display a pistol he was lawfully carrying and warned the man not to come any closer. Afterwards, the suspect went back to his vehicle as he yelled racial slurs. The suspect then slowly drove past the residence four more times, yelling more slurs and threats to come back and kill the victim’s family.
The VSO says the victim's wife witnessed a portion of the incident while their daughter remained inside the house during the exchange.
Deputies later made contact with the suspect, who has been identified as 55-year-old Michael Parkinson. According to a release from the sheriff's office, Parkinson justified his actions in his account of the incident and continued to refer to the victim using racial slurs.
VSO has since filed a charging affidavit with the State Attorney's Office (SAO) charging Parkinson with assault, a second-degree misdemeanor, which has been enhanced and reclassified as a first-degree misdemeanor under Florida Statute 755.085.
"I’ll say it again: We are not going to tolerate this kind of behavior in Volusia County," Volusia Sheriff Mike Chitwood said. "In case the message wasn’t clear enough, I want everyone to know this Sheriff’s Office will not give a free pass to racist, bigoted criminal acts that seek to intimidate others out of hatred and ignorance."
Similar charges were filed against a DeLeon Springs man who threatened a black family with a handgun as they were driving through DeLand.
At this time, Parkison has not been arrested. In an email from Andrew Gant, a spokesperson with the VSO, Gant says a charging affidavit was filed with the SAO because, by law, the deputies could not arrest him for the specific misdemeanor crime that they didn’t witness, since it is not one of the misdemeanor exceptions defined by the statute.