A Man in the Middle: Floyd Parrish's Story

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BRISTOL, Fla. Since his arrest last March for carrying a firearm without a license, Floyd Parrish told us he had been living off the radar.

"We've almost had to make ourselves like recluse down here in these woods because we scared to get out anywhere. You know, it seems to me like, everybody wants to grab you and get you with something. So, we just stay at the house- that's what we do."

Parrish said he suffers from COPD among other illnesses, some of which cause him to faint. He lives and works on 60 acres outside of Bristol with his girlfriend.

"When I get down and I'm not getting enough air to holler, I have that pistol so I can pop that pistol" he explained. Several times in the past, Parrish said he's had to fire a round in the air so, "I call her my wife, Melynn, so she can hear me to come to me to see what the problem is."

On March 8, Parrish had been working on his land when he got a call from his brother. He was going to have to go to his brother's house just down the road to drop something off. On the way, Parrish got pulled over.

The deputy saw a gun in the drivers seat, and was asked to step out of the vehicle. Parrish said he told the officer he also had a pistol in his pocket.

"Its not to protect myself with. I have other things to protect myself with other than a little cap gun," Parrish explained. "But this deputy kept insisting to me and Melynn that I was a felon. He kept insisting that to her. And we kept telling this man, 'no I'm no felon.'"

Parrish was arrested and taken into custody, then later released with no charges by Liberty County Sheriff, Nick Finch.

"When the sheriff looked it over, I think he made a good call on his decision on my behalf," Parrish said.

But that decision was what sparked an investigation into Finch by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Finch was charged with official misconduct and falsifying records. After a four day trial, Finch was found not guilty on both charges.

"I felt as though I was half way responsible for what happened to him and it made me feel kind of guilty" Parrish said of the ordeal.

Parrish also told us enduring the trial was not a walk in the park.

"Some ways, I kind of feel like I've been smeared a little bit too," he said. "Certain things that were brought up I didn't think was necessary to be brought up in the courtroom, such as my illnesses."

Prosecutors used testimony claiming Parrish has mental illness as a reason he should not have been carrying a gun to begin with.

"[The state] tried to put it like the Sheriff says [to me], 'here's some paperwork so some psycho can go get his gun back in his hand', you know? Didn't make me feel good."

Parrish has since obtained a license to carry a concealed weapon and completed community service for his offense. He noted that the had been removed from his record.

Parrish said he was relieved the case was over and felt as though justice had been served. He said he hoped a silver lining would come from a situation that has been a dark cloud in his sky for months.

"I think now things will kind of get straightened out in this county, I really do," Parrish said with a smile. "I think that people are going to see that they're tired of this under-shifting that goes on in these small towns."

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