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Deputy resigns in Taser incident

Tallahassee Democrat | April 10, 2005

A rookie Leon County Sheriff's deputy has turned in his badge after an internal investigation concluded he wrongfully used a Taser on a local U.S. Marine reservist. At a news conference Friday, Sheriff Larry Campbell issued a public apology to Cpl. Demar Jackson, who was the target of Deputy John Daly's Taser on March 7, and subsequently arrested and charged with resisting arrest without violence.

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Campbell said the charges have been dropped.

"Pure and simple, we made a mistake," said a somber-faced Campbell, who has been a statewide advocate on the effectiveness of Tasers in law enforcement. "The arrest was wrong. The tasing was wrong."

He also said Daly would have been fired if he had not resigned. The county is currently reviewing its Taser use policies to see if any changes need to be made.

The news reached a surprised and relieved Jackson, who had returned from a six-month military tour of duty in Africa just days before the incident.

"I really can't put it into words right now," said the 30-year-old who is still on active duty with the Company C, 8th Tank Battalion, U.S. Marine Reserves. "It's been constantly on my mind. I thought about it every waking moment."

The two-week internal investigation concluded that Daly, who had been on the force since October, did not follow Sheriff's Office procedure while dealing with Jackson during their encounter.

Daly was responding to a domestic-disturbance call at Jackson's apartment complex, off Meridian Road. When the deputy arrived, Jackson was standing outside. After a brief verbal exchange between the two, in which Jackson tried to tell Daly he had the wrong guy, Daly pulled his Taser and eventually shot Jackson in the chest and abdomen.

Daly wrote in his report that he felt justified in shooting Jackson because Jackson did not turn around after three commands to do so.

Other deputies arrived on the scene moments later, and after a small conference, realized that the apartment they should have responded to was next door. Jackson was still taken to jail.

Campbell said Daly assumed Jackson was the suspect and not a witness.

"The deputy did not violate the law, but he did not follow the policy of the Sheriff's Office," he said. "He did not communicate well with anyone in this instance, including this office."

Jackson was pleased to hear that the charges had been dropped, but was unsure if he would pursue a civil lawsuit against the Sheriff's Office.

"To know that the criminal charges are gone feels like a big burden has been lifted off my shoulders," he said. "It's almost closure."

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