For more than a year, an Oklahoma police department refused to release body and dash camera footage showing a pair of cops tasering a non-aggressive naked man more than 50 times before the man died in their custody.
But now that a sudden wave of police accountability is sweeping the nation, the videos have not only been released, the two cops have been charged with second-degree murder for the death of Jared Lakey, a 37-year-old man said to be having a medical episode when he seen running down the street naked, yelling at around midnight.
The videos show Lakey was lying facedown on the ground, not making a move, when Wilson police officers Brandon Dingman and Joshua Taylor ordered him to place his hands behind his back. Lakey only moaned in response, not making much movement.
Never making an attempt to physically handcuff him, the cops stood over him with their tasers pointed at him, threatening to stun him.
“Non-compliance will get you tased,” said one of the cops.
For the next seven minutes, the cops continue to taser Lakey as he yells in pain. At times, both cops taser him simultaneously, which can lead to death, according to the manufacturer.
A Carter County sheriff’s deputy then arrives and places Lakey in a chokehold for 40 seconds. The officers then sit Lakey up and shove his head down into his chest – all of it which contributed to Lakey’s death, according to the family attorney.
Lakey died two days after the incident in a local hospital where police told staff that Lakey was on illegal drugs. However, a toxicology report found no drugs in his system. The only abnormalities was elevated blood sugar.
Prosecutors said it took so long to charge the cops because they were thorough in their investigation, according to The Daily Ardmoreite:
In a July 1 statement, District Attorney Craig Ladd explained reasons for the delay in the filing of charges against the officers. The OSBI investigation reportedly lasted for seven months before a final investigative report was submitted to the district attorney’s office.
After receiving the final report, Ladd said he searched for a use of force expert to review the evidence in the case and render an opinion on whether the use of force was excessive. This reportedly added an additional three months to the process.
The COVID-19 pandemic also reportedly slowed the process, with necessary meetings taking longer to arrange. Ladd said he was able to meet with the victim’s family this past Monday, and expressed his gratitude to the family for their patience.
“Hopefully, the fact that the criminal prosecution of those responsible for his death has begun will make this upcoming one-year anniversary of his death a little bit easier to bear, if only in the slightest,” Ladd said in the statement.
In his charging documents, Ladd states that the tasing of the victim “greatly exceeded what would have been necessary or warranted.” Ladd filed charges for second-degree murder because there did not appear to be any “premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual.”
Dingman, 34, and Taylor, 25, face a maximum of life in prison if convicted. Read the lawsuit here.