American Officer Shoots At Black Man After Mistaking Sound Of Acorn For Gunshot

American Officer

A Florida deputy has resigned after mistaking the sound of an acorn falling on his patrol vehicle for a gunshot and shooting at a Black man who was handcuffed inside, per WPTV.

Body camera footage shows Deputy Jesse Hernandez yelling “shots fired” as an acorn fell on the roof of his patrol vehicle on Nov. 12 in Fort Walton Beach. Hernandez fell to the ground and repeatedly shot into the back of the vehicle, which held Marquis Jackson, who was accused of stealing his girlfriend’s car earlier that day.

“I’m hit,” the officer who opened fire can be heard saying in the video.

An internal investigation revealed that “an acorn can be seen striking the top of his vehicle” just before Hernandez shot at Jackson, who wasn’t injured.

Hernandez claimed that he felt an impact on his torso and his legs “weren’t working the way I wanted them to be working.” The officer told investigators he thought he’d been shot, adding that he’s “never been shot before, so I, I don’t know what that’s like.”

The investigation determined that there was no damage to the patrol vehicle before Hernandez “made his decision to use lethal force based on the sound.”

“Deputy Hernandez’s response was not objectively reasonable,” the investigation determined. “The only verifiable outside stimulus was the sound Deputy Hernandez interpreted as a suppressed weapon being fired, and that alone would not justify shooting into the vehicle.”

Hernandez resigned in December amid the investigation.

In a statement, Sheriff Eric Aden said Hernandez was “found to have violated policy,” but “cleared, however, of any criminal wrongdoing.”

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