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Reservist says deputy had no reason to use stun gun

Associated Press | April 6 2005

TALLAHASSEE -- A deputy sheriff shocked a Marine reservist with a Taser stun gun in a case of mistaken identity just days after the reservist had returned from an overseas assignment. Leon County deputies responding to reports of a domestic disturbance wrongly went to Demar Jackson's apartment instead of the correct one next door.

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Jackson tried to tell Deputy John Daly he was at the wrong apartment, but Daly told him three times to turn around. When Jackson did not turn, Daly shot him with his Taser, sending 50,000 volts of electricity into Jackson's bare chest and abdomen as his wife and 3-year-old son watched.

The Marine, who had returned four days earlier from an assignment in Africa, has filed a complaint about the March 7 incident. He pleaded not guilty to charges of resisting arrest without violence.

"At first, I couldn't believe what was happening. I thought I was staring down the barrel of a .45 or something," Jackson said. "I was thinking to myself, 'I just got back from overseas, and now I have to deal with this?' "

Jackson acknowledges that he questioned Daly's orders to turn around. He says he never moved toward the deputy and had his hands above his head during most of the encounter.

Daly's incident report does not mention any signs of physical resistance or aggressive behavior.

It would be "out of character for Jackson to resist or cause a problem for an officer," said Capt. Jeffrey Houston, an instructor at the Naval and Marine Corps Training Center.

"He is a very calm and collected individual," he said. "I consider him one of the better Marines in the reserve company."

The Sheriff's Office is investigating, spokesman Sgt. Chris Chase said. He would not comment on whether the charges would be dropped.

About 100 people have died nationally since 1999 after being shocked with a Taser, including recent deaths in Pensacola, Delray Beach, Hollywood and Naples. Many of those who died were drug users.

Taser Inc. says its guns are a nonlethal alternative to shooting dangerous suspects.

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