Former Oklahoma police officers, Joshua Taylor and Brandon Dingman convicted of murdering Jared Lakey after tasering him up to 53 times during the commission of an arrest.
Joshua Taylor, 27 and Brandon Dingham, 35, were both recommended to serve a sentence of ten years jail each according to a jury in Carter County, KXII reported.
The victim, identified as Jared Lakey, 28, died of a heart attack after being tased by Wilson Police officers no less than 53 times on July 4, 2019, during the commission of an arrest.
The tasing which went on for four minutes, led to Lakey no longer breathing and becoming unresponsive shortly after he was taken into custody by the officers. Lakey died two days later.
Records said that ‘such dangerous and unnecessary’ use of the Tasers was a ‘substantial factor’ in bringing about Lakey’s death.
Scrutiny over the use of Taser guns
In addition to second-degree murder, Dingman and Taylor were found guilty of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
The case brought further scrutiny to the use of Tasers by law enforcement officers. Supporters say the devices are a practical alternative to often-lethal firearms, but critics point out they have contributed to many fatalities.
On the day of the Lakey’s death, Taylor and Lakey responded to a report of a naked man running down the street and screaming. Lakey was tased repeatedly after police said he failed to comply with police commands.
The officers called for backup and continued tasing Lakey, despite him no longer moving, according to KIRO7.
During trial proceedings, District 20 DA Craig Ladd cited Taser training protocol which requires users to keep from using more than one Taser on a person at a time.
Ladd intimated that Lakey was trying to follow officers’ commands but he was fighting the Tasers’ influence on his muscles.
‘They Tased Jared because he was lying naked in a ditch and wouldn’t put his hands behind his back when they asked him to, even though it wasn’t clear whether Jared truly understood what was going on or what he was being requested to do,’ he said. ‘He never made any aggressive moves towards the officers, swung at them, lunged at them, or kicked at them.’
Lawyers plan to appeal
The defense maintained that Lakey died from a neck restraint applied by another officer. They also said that he had a bad heart. Lakey’s heart was enlarged, and he had critical coronary artery disease, according to a medical examiner’s report cited by Dingman attorney Shannon McMurray in a New York Times interview. She and Taylor attorney Warren Gotcher said their respective clients would appeal.
‘We’re very disappointed in the verdict,’ Gotcher said. ‘No one could look at him and tell that he had that much of a diseased heart.’
A lawsuit filed by the victim’s family said that his body was riddled with Taser probes and that medical providers had told the family that he died from multiple heart attacks.
More than 1,000 people in the United States have died after being shocked with stun guns by police since 2000, according to a 2017 investigation by Reuters.
The former police officers are to be sentenced on Dec. 2.