July 19th, 2020 - by Jacob Crosse / World Socialist Web Site
Jared Lakey, second from left, with his family. (Photo: The Frontier/Lakey family lawyers)
Oklahoma Cops Tased Jared Lakey 53 Times Before He Died
Jacob Crosse / World Socialist Web Site
(July 17, 2020) — Family, friends and community supporters of Jared Lakey, 28, will be marching today in rural Wilson, Oklahoma to demand “Justice for Jared,” sparked by the release of harrowing video of his brutalization by Oklahoma police little more than a year ago this month.
Lakey was sadistically tortured and electrocuted with a “less lethal” Taser-X26P 53 times over a nine-minute period beginning July 4 and into the morning of July 5 by Wilson police officers Joshua Taylor, 25, and Brandon Dingman, 34, before being choked unconscious by Carter County Sheriff’s Deputy David Duggan.
Officers ignored Lakey’s pained pleas of “Please, help me God!” as Taylor and Dingman coolly zapped Lakey repeatedly in between half-hearted commands for Lakey to “put his hands behind his back.”
Lakey was naked and unarmed throughout the sickening ordeal that ended with his death on July 6, 2019.
Demonstrating once again that the primary factor in determining whether or not one will become a victim of police violence is which class they belong to, and not their race, Lakey was white, as are all the officers involved in the assault.
While police-recorded video of the incident shows officers repeatedly alleging that Lakey was on drugs, “possibly PCP,” toxicology reports taken after the autopsy revealed that Lakey was not under the influence of any illegal drugs, with the only irregularity being his elevated blood sugar levels.
The law firm of Bryan & Terrill, representing the Lakey family, released an edited 11-minute video of the nearly one-hour-long encounter featuring multiple angles of the available body and dash cam footage earlier this week on Monday. The video’s release has substantiated the claims of the family that Lakey was not aggressive and has engendered further outrage at the murderous actions of the officers, who remained free for nearly a year during the glacial state investigation into the killing.
Lakey’s family has filed a public records lawsuit and a federal civil rights lawsuit as well as a civil lawsuit against the city of Wilson alleging the police department falsified reports, erased body cam footage, and lied to emergency medical services regarding how many times officers tasered Lakey.
The incident began late on July 4, 2019. Acting Wilson police captain Taylor was dispatched to the area following a report in which the caller reported seeing a man, “screaming and running down the road.” Attorneys for the family attest that Lakey had a preexisting medical condition which caused “disorientation and confusion” and that Lakey at no point threatened the officers nor caused violent offence to any persons, including the police.
Writing in his official report following the incident, Taylor stated that Lakey “appeared agitated,” and was only wearing socks when he first encountered the young man. After inquiring as to where his clothes were, Taylor alleged that Lakey, became “aggressive,” before declaring “Okay, we’re going to do this,” at which point Taylor states he then unsheathed his taser and kept Lakey at “taser point” waiting for Dingman to arrive.
Taylor’s report then states that Dingman arrived and attempted to put handcuffs on Lakey, at which point “the individual went to raise up in an aggressive manner,” causing Taylor to deploy his taser for the “first time” with Dingman following shortly thereafter. Both officers claimed in their reports that they had only fired their tasers “four times.”
Taser data logs submitted in court filings confirm that Taylor deployed his Taser 30 times for over two minutes while Dingman sent 50,000 volts surging through Lakey 23 times in just under two minutes. Axon, the company that sells the “directed energy weapon,” advises against using the taser against a subject for more than “15 seconds” or deploying multiple devices against the same person that could result in death.
Officers Taylor and Dingman were finally arrested and charged with second-degree murder at the beginning of this month. The charges against Taylor and Dingman were filed following a ten-month “investigation” by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations (OSBI). If convicted, a remote possibility, the officers could face sentences of 10 years to life in prison.
The two cops were briefly held on $250,000 bonds, before being released on house arrest. Both officers remained on duty during the entire investigation and are on administrative leave as they continue to be employed with the department. Their next court appearance is slated for August 27, 2020.
The OSBI report does not substantiate any of the officers’ claims nor does the video footage available. The report noted that “Lakey is tased numerous times while merely lying naked in the ditch, presumably for not rolling onto his stomach and complying with the officers’ commands to ‘Put your hands behind your back.’”
The footage shows officers debating whether or not to go “hands on” as they continue to electrocute Lakey, who is simply lying on the ground.
Near the end of the video, Carter County Sheriff Deputy David Duggan arrives on the scene and proceeds to sneak behind Lakey, who is sitting in the ditch breathing heavily with his hands in front of him and proceeds to put him in a chokehold for 40 seconds. Taylor and Dingman then handcuffed Lakey, who by that time was unconscious. Duggan never engaged verbally with Lakey before rendering him unconscious.
After placing handcuffs on Lakey, body cam footage shows officers pressed down on Lakey’s neck while he labored to breathe. As the officers got their stories straight, Lakey stopped breathing due to the cumulative effect of repeated electrocution, strangulation and officers pushing down on his neck, further impeding breathing.
Even though it was clear to the multiple officers on the scene that Lakey was no longer breathing, not a single officer made an effort to begin CPR or chest compressions. Instead Dingman slapped him on the back a few times and tells Lakey to “wake up.”
In the video, Duggan then asks Dingman, “is he breathing?” Dingman replies, “No,” and then in reference to the ambulance on its way Dingman advises his partners to tell EMS to “step it up.” No other actions were taken by the officers to save Lakey’s life as they waited three and a half minutes for the ambulance to arrive, according to family attorneys.
Court documents submitted in Clark County, Oklahoma, by District Attorney Craig Ladd attest that the officers’ use of force represented a “substantial factor” in Lakey’s death and that the tasing of Lakey “greatly exceeded what would have been necessary or warranted.”
Carter County court records obtained by the Daily Ardmoreite hypothesize that Lakey’s probable cause of death was due to “complications of myocardial infarction (clinical) in the setting of cardiomegaly and critical coronary atherosclerosis and law enforcement use of electrical weapon and restraint.” Despite “restraint” being referenced as a probable cause of death, Duggan has yet to be charged with a crime, which the family is strongly protesting.
Wilson is located roughly 100 miles south of Oklahoma City near the border of Texas. Nearly 14 percent of the less than 1,500 residents in Wilson live in poverty.
A 2017 Reuters investigation found that at least 1,005 people have died after police electrocuted them with a “less lethal” stun gun. As was the case with Lakey, Reuters found that nine out of 10 of those killed by tasers were unarmed and one out of four suffered a mental illness or neurological disorder