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How many dozens of bullets does it take Florida cops to win a gunfight with an acorn? Marquis Jackson could’ve died finding out, and now he’s suing the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

Police Cruiser Door With Bullet Holes

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A Storm of Bullets Over an Acorn

In a scenario that sounds more like a satirical sketch than a real-life incident, Marquis Jackson, a 24-year-old resident of Fort Walton Beach, finds himself at the center of an outrageous and frankly, alarming legal battle against the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO).

Picture this: a peaceful day turned nightmare when deputies, supposedly trained to protect and serve, unleashed a hail of bullets – a jaw-dropping 22 rounds – at an unarmed man handcuffed in the back of a patrol car. The trigger? An acorn. Yes, you read that right. An acorn.

Nutty Knowledge: What the Heck Happened? 

Let’s dive deeper into this absurdity that occurred in November. Jackson was initially detained over a domestic squabble.

According to AP News, investigators could see an acorn hit the top of the patrol car. In addition to Deputy Jesse Hernandez and Sergeant Beth Roberts mistaking the innocent drop of an acorn for gunshots, Hernandez believed he had been hit. 

“He began yelling ‘shots fired’ multiple times, falling to the ground and rolling,” the Okaloosa County Sherrif said. “He fired into the patrol car.”

The body cameras do not lie. As BOSSIP previously reported, the footage captured Hernandez’s sudden panic and barrage of bullets on the car housing Jackson. Roberts quickly joined this bewildering assault. Watch the near-fatal fumbling footage yourself below.


How these deputies acted would be almost comical if it weren’t so dangerously irresponsible.

Cracking Under Pressure: The Incident Unleashed

Four months later, ABC 13 reports that Jackson is suing the OSCO for the life-altering fear of being shot multiple times while restrained. His outcry for peace of mind is a reminder of the countless reckless actions by those sworn to protect, and the potential consequences–or lack thereof. 


“There was a chance that I could have died from each bullet that was shot at me. On Nov. 12 my life changed forever, and I haven’t been the same since. Will I ever have peace of mind again? Imagine being shot a tremendous amounts of times while handcuffed in the backseat of a cop car by the ones we call to protect our community,” Jackson said at a press conference.

DeWitt Lacy, Jackson’s attorney and a staunch advocate for civil rights, condemns the deputies’ actions as unlawful and a stark misuse of human life for “target practice.”

The call for justice extends beyond seeking damages; it’s a rallying cry for systemic change in training and screening processes within law enforcement.

The disparity in the OCSO’s response adds another layer of frustration. Deputy Hernandez, who initiated the gunfire, resigned following the incident—a move that Sheriff Eric S. Aden admitted was warranted due to the “unreasonable” nature of Hernandez’s actions. Yet, Sergeant Roberts was exonerated, a decision that leaves many questions about accountability and standards within the force.

Barking Up the Wrong Tree: Misidentification and Mayhem

Sheriff Aden released a statement prior to the press conference that tried to set the record straight, claiming concerns over “false and misleading” information about the incident.

“We understand a press conference will be held to discuss the November incident that involved Mr. Marquis Jackson. Based on the law firm’s press release published on Monday, we are concerned about false and misleading statements that will be made about this incident,” the statement submitted to ABC 13 read.

Two investigations, including an independent review from the Office of the State Attorney confirmed no long guns were used to shoot at Mr. Jackson. Deputies only used long guns with bean bag rounds to breach the window to help Mr. Jackson get out of the vehicle and he was informed that he was not being shot at. The press release inaccurately reports a minimum of 32 rounds were fired. Our investigation confirmed 22 rounds were fired. Mr. Jackson was also not searched twice. He was only ever patted down. Finally, we have not and will not speculate about former Deputy Hernandez’s mindset, as he resigned before he could be interviewed for the investigation.

This is information we will share with Mr. Jackson and his legal team, if necessary, through the litigation process. While we are fully committed to defending ourselves in this matter, we sincerely wish Mr. Jackson well. The entire Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office remains committed to the excellent service and protection of our residents and visitors.”

However, this attempt to clarify only further muddies the waters, revealing discrepancies in the number of shots fired and the nature of the response to Jackson.

With Jackson’s lawsuit looming and the OCSO pledging to use this incident as a “training example,” one has to wonder about the efficacy of such measures. Can a department truly learn from its mistakes when it seems so deeply entrenched in justifying them? Jackson’s ordeal should not be reduced to a mere training footnote but seen as a critical examination point for law enforcement practices nationwide.

Rooting for Reform: From Acorns to Action

Jackson’s fight is not just his own. It’s a glaring beacon for the need for reform and training in police departments. As this legal battle heats up, one thing is clear: the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office has some serious explaining to do, and hopefully, this time, they’ll recognize the difference between an acorn and an actual threat.


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