As the outrage continues on over violent killings by police officers all over the United States, lethal acts and abuse that are done by the law enforcement are finally being shed to light with prosecution of officers that would’ve otherwise been granted impunity in the past by the criminal justice system.
Two police officers in Oklahoma are now under scrutiny and will most likely go to jail after being charged with second-degree murder because of using their tasers over 50 times on a man who died while in their custody.
Captain Joshua Taylor, 25, and Officer Brandon Dingman, 34, both employed by the Wilson Police Department are facing jail time after they misused and abused their stun guns on 28-year-old Jared Lakey last summer, which led to the man’s death.
According to the court documents filed in the civil lawsuit by Lakey’s family, The Frontier reported that when the medical personnel arrived at the scene, the police officers had told them that they only used their tasers on the victim “four times.”
The incident happened last 4th of July, 2019, in Wilson, located 100 miles to the south of Oklahoma City, closely bordering to Texas. According to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, it was after a call was made stating that Lakey was “acting in a disorderly way.”
Taylor and Dingman simultaneously began torturing Lakey with their stun guns when he allegedly didn’t comply with their commands. According to records in court, the officers stunned him a total of over 50 times, “which greatly exceeded what would have been necessary or warranted by the attendant circumstances.”
The officers reported to the medical personnel on the scene that Lakey was under the influence of drugs when he was allegedly “running down the street,” although the toxicology report presented by the family’s attorney clearly proved that the victim had no drugs in his system when the crime occurred.
After Lakey underwent 50 bouts of electricity-powered torture, a deputy sheriff from Carter County arrived at the scene to help the others take him into custody, during which they said that this unidentified deputy had choked Lakey from behind. Shortly after that incident, Lakey stopped breathing and lost responsiveness. He passed away in an Oklahoma City Hospital last July 6, 2019.
Court records have stated that “such dangerous and unnecessary tasing” was a “substantial factor” in the eventual death of Lakey.
Earlier this month, the district attorney’s office issued warrants of arrest for the two officers, who turned themselves in the day after. If they are found guilty of second-degree murder, they could go to jail for a minimum of 10 years, up to life.
According to state authorities, both have paid the $250,000 bonds and have since been released.
The Lakey family attorneys mentioned that both officers made false claims with regards to the incident that led to Lakey’s death. While Capt. Taylor said that Lakey was naked and agitated, his family disputes this claim. Taylor also included in the reports that he only held Lakey at “TASER point” in the altercation, while the police radio logs prove that he fired his taser within mere minutes of his encounter with Lakey. The attorneys have also accused the two officers for erasing video footage from their body-worn cameras to prevent it from being used against them in court.
Attorneys also claimed that at no point in the altercation was Lakey accused of committing a crime, nor he resisted being arrested. Attorney Spencer Bryan is representing Lakeys’ family told the New York Times that:
“I have never seen a more disturbing video. After watching it, I cannot understand how the city allowed officers who exhibited such gross recklessness, resulting in a man’s death, to continue working. We have great confidence the evidence supports the charges.”
The use of tasers is now under scrutiny since Rayshard Brooks was killed by former police officer in Atlanta, Garret Rolfe, who is now facing murder chargers of Brooks.
The law enforcement has classed tasers or stun guns as “less lethal” tools to be used in order to temporarily immobilize someone. While taser manufacturer Axon Enterprise has made claims that tasers save lives and prevent injuries, over 500 people people have already died between 2001 and 2012 after being shocked with tasers while being arrested or incarcerated. This was reported by human rights group Amnesty International.
In the 2012 study published by the journal Circulation, electric shocks in the chest delivered by a taser can lead to cardiac arrest and sudden death. This study was based on an analysis of eight people and their previous records that went into cardiac arrest after being hit by a stun gun 26 times. While one survived, seven of the people died.
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