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Seaton: Return of the Friday Fail, Acorn Cop

Back during the days of Fault Lines, my mean-ass editor tasked me weekly with compiling a post called the “Friday Fail.” It was a short post detailing what I thought were the biggest criminal justice failures of the week. We let readers vote on what they considered the worst in an informal poll for audience interaction. It was a fun little bit.

And we’re kind of bringing it back today because hoo boy do I have a doozy for you. This is probably the biggest fail I’ve seen since I started writing about America’s criminal justice system.

Before we continue, allow me to provide a “Trigger warning,” if you’ll indulge me. We’re about to examine cop behavior so royally stupid, so completely inane, that words will initially fail to adequately convey how bad this is. Sometimes all you can do is point and laugh at the stupid.

This is one of those times. And yes, this is a Florida story.

We’re headed back to November in Okaloosa County, Florida. Two cops in Fort Walton Beach, Jesse Hernandez and partner Beth Roberts, were investigating reports of a stolen car and threatening text messages. They identify a young man named Marquis Jackson as a possible suspect. Jackson tells the cops his girlfriend’s allegedly stolen car is at her mother’s residence but a quick check with the girlfriend’s mother reveals this is not true.

So Officers Hernandez and Roberts place Mr. Jackson in custody. He’s patted down for weapons or contraband, and then placed in the back of a patrol vehicle.

And what happened next on that November day in Florida will now live in the greatest pantheon of stupid that exists—Florida Man Stupid.

Roll the tape, please!

Officer Hernandez walks past his patrol vehicle with Mr. Jackson inside. According to Hernandez he heard a loud pop which he associated with a gunshot.

Believing he’d been hit by a bullet, Deputy Dumbass here screams “SHOTS FIRED,” does two combat rolls until he’s behind the patrol vehicle and then proceeds to empty his entire clip into the back of the vehicle containing Marquis Jackson. After aerating the patrol vehicle’s backside Hernandez crawls over to another car and takes cover, telling his partner, “I’m good. I feel weird but I’m good.” When no blood is visible Hernandez tells his partner he thinks his vest might have taken the bullet.

We’re not done with the stupid wagon yet. Officer Roberts hears her partner yell “shots fired,” says “Where? There?”, points her firearm at the general direction OF THE FUCKING POLICE VEHICLE CONTAINING A LIVE HUMAN BEING and proceeds to empty her clip in the general direction of the car in which Marquis Jackson sits. Screaming for Jackson’s girlfriend to get back in the house, Roberts radios for backup and tells dispatch shots were fired and an officer is down.

This brings a host of cops to the scene of this misfortune all armed with what appear to be shotguns and AR-15 rifles.

To stop an unarmed man in the back of a patrol vehicle from “shooting” at them.

And what exactly caused the popping noise Officer Hernandez heard?

An acorn falling on the roof of Officer Hernandez’s patrol vehicle.

Miraculously, Marquis Jackson survived this volley of gunfire aimed in his general direction by lying flat in the seat and keeping his head down.

In a Facebook post, Jackson said “all I could do was lean over and play dead to prevent getting shot in the head. I was scared to death …Windows were shattering on me the whole time as bullets continued flying across me. I was blessed not to get hit by any bullets or get hurt physically but mentally, I’m not ok. I haven’t been the same since and I don’t think this feeling I have will ever change. I truly believe I’m damaged for life!”

Officer Hernandez was allowed to resign from the force back in December of 2023. Officer Roberts is still an active member of the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Department as of this writing.

So why am I bringing this up today, almost three months after the fact? Easy. First, I just saw this today and can’t stop laughing at the video, even as dark as it is. And by the way if you knew about this and didn’t tell me, shame on you. I’m not mad, mind you. I’m just disappointed.

Second, I know cops have a hard job. They do thankless work keeping our streets safe. Except these two. I could totally keep the streets safer far better than these two ever could.

And finally there’s really only one way to mentally cope with something this absurd: pointing and laughing at it. Repeatedly.

Former Officer Hernandez and Officer Roberts, congratulations. You did something I didn’t think would happen—you fucked up bad enough to not only make me bring back the Friday Fail, you made me retire it for good with your dumbassery.

And for the rest of you, we’ll see you next week! Have a great weekend and remember: no matter how bad you messed up this week, you’ve got video proof you’re smarter than at least two people trusted with guns and badges!

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