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Florida Deputy Mistakes Falling Acorn for Gunshots, Fires at Squad Car

A man in Florida found himself in a harrowing situation when a sheriff's deputy mistook the sound of a falling acorn for gunfire, resulting in the deputy firing shots at the man while he was handcuffed and restrained in a patrol vehicle.

The incident, captured on body camera footage released by the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, shows Deputy Jesse Hernandez reacting to what he perceived as gunshots by repeatedly firing into the patrol vehicle. Fortunately, the man, identified as Marquis Jackson, escaped physical harm, but he described the experience as deeply traumatizing.

The events unfolded when deputies responded to a call regarding a stolen vehicle in Fort Walton Beach. Jackson, suspected of being involved, was detained and placed in Hernandez's patrol car. As Hernandez approached the vehicle, the sound of an acorn hitting the car roof triggered his reaction, leading to the gunfire.

Despite the lack of physical injury, Jackson recounted the terror of the incident on social media, expressing gratitude for his safety but revealing enduring mental anguish. He described the fear of being caught in the crossfire while unable to escape due to being restrained.

In the aftermath, Hernandez resigned from his position, and while no criminal charges were filed against him, an internal investigation found his use of force to be unreasonable. Conversely, Sergeant Beth Roberts, who also discharged her weapon in response to Hernandez's actions, was cleared of any wrongdoing.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office emphasized their commitment to preventing similar incidents in the future through enhanced training and expressed relief that Jackson emerged unscathed, affirming there was no evidence of malicious intent on Hernandez's part.

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