USA

2 officers accused of repeatedly using stun gun against man charged with his murder

Two Oklahoma police officers have been charged with second-degree murder for allegedly applying multiple electrical shocks from stun guns to the body of a man who died afterward.

Wilson Police Department Officers Joshua Taylor and Brandon Dingman reportedly responded to a call around midnight on July 4, 2019, that 28-year-old Jared Lakey was allegedly acting disorderly.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations was requested by the Carter County Sheriff’s Office to assist with the investigation. The OSBI said in a press release on July 2 that when Lakey did not comply with the officers' commands, they both used their police-issued stun guns.

The agency found that both Taylor, 24, and Dingman, 34, used the stun gun multiple times on Lakey until backup from the Carter County Sheriff's Office arrived on the scene to assist with getting Lakey into custody.

According to the Daily Ardmoreite, a local newspaper, the backup officer wrote in an incident report that he "placed Lakey in a neck restraint, causing him to go unconscious, and had the other officers place him in handcuffs." The backup officer, who was not unidentified, has not been charged.

Lakey stopped breathing, became unresponsive, began breathing again and was taken to the hospital, OSBI said, and died two days later.

The Daily Ardmoreite also reported that Lakey's probable cause of death determined by the state's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner was due to complications of a heart attack "and law enforcement use of electrical weapon and restraint."

Request for comment from the Lakey family attorney, Steven Terrill, was not returned. The family has also filed a civil lawsuit.

Neck restraints, including chokeholds, used by law enforcement officers across the country have become one of the topics of calls for police reform which was sparked on the heels of the death of George Floyd. Floyd was seen on video being held down by the knee of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin on Floyd's neck.

Chauvin along with three other officers were charged in connection to Floyd's murder. They have all entered not guilty pleas to the charges.

The protests have also called for systemic racism changes throughout the world. In the Oklahoma incident, everyone involved was white.

The OSBI said a report with their investigation findings were submitted to District Attorney Craig Ladd's office, who issued a warrant on July 1 for the arrest of Dingman and Taylor.

Judge Carson Brooks set $250,000 bond that both officers paid and were released by July 2, according to online court records.

Ryan Hunnicut, who is the listed attorney for Dingman and Taylor, could not be reached for comment.

But in a statement to The New York Times he said: "The death of Mr. Lakey saddens us all. We are confident that the legal system will provide an opportunity for all the facts to be known and look forward to our day in court."

The officers reportedly have been placed on administrative leave. When contacted, a dispatcher with the Wilson Police Department referred questions to the city's mayor, who did not return request for comment.

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