Sheriff: No “fowl play” in Alabama deputy-involved chicken death

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ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — It’s one of those stories where at the end someone says “only in Florida.”  A chicken in Escambia County met its untimely death Monday. It did not die in the claws of a chicken hawk or from a fox in the hen house. This chicken was the victim of a deadly encounter with a sheriff’s deputy. 

The story of the slain bird spread on social media, an outcry for justice for the chicken. “Eyewitnesses” claimed to see the deputy simply drive by and pluck the chicken off with his service gun, rolling down his window and blasting the bird in cold blood. The owner, says the Escambia County sheriff, squawked on social media that he too had heard the deadly gunfire. As it often does on social media, the cries of “fowl” play became louder than a chorus of a thousand roosters crowing first thing in the morning. Commenters running their mouths like a chicken running with its head cut off called for the head of the deputy who allegedly killed the clucker in cold blood. 

The story was incredible, unbelievable even. That’s the key word, unbelievable. Sheriff Morgan didn’t believe it, not for a minute. So instead of listening to all of the clucking on social media, he did what any good cop would do when trying to get to the bottom of such an important case — he investigated. 

Using modern technology, could he exonerate the alleged despicable deputy accused of committing an inhumane crime against poultry? Witnesses stood against the deputy, ready to testify to his terrible behavior. There was a body, that was clear. But what was the instrument of death? Was it the deputy’s pistol, or something else?

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Studies have shown that eyewitnesses can be unreliable. Their testimony is often disputed by physical evidence that cannot be. It’s elementary my dear Watson. In this case, the undisputable evidence was video. The deadly encounter, it turns out, was not only caught on a nearby surveillance camera…but also the deputy’s dash camera. 

So what does the video show? There are no gunshots, no deputy committing cold-blooded chicken murder. The video clearly shows that the chicken simply tried to cross the road…and didn’t make it to the other side. The chicken ran in front of the deputy’s SUV and died from the impact. 

You may not find this amusing, and certainly, we do not wish to make light of the poor chicken’s fate. But more importantly, the Sheriff does not find it very funny. That’s the serious party of this tale of social media and what you might call a “cock-a-doodle-don’t.” The Sheriff says he, his deputies, and his department were smeared by false accusations spread on social media. He took to social media to scold those who he accused of doing just that and to lay out the evidence of the deputy’s innocence. His video message asks people to think before they post. And shocker…don’t believe everything you read on Facebook.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Aaron Nolan is a morning show co-host in Little Rock, Arkansas with Nexstar Media Group's KARK-TV. He has a passion for social media and makes it an important part of his daily routine. Click here to read Aaron's full bio.

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