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

Posted at 11:16 AM, Jul 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-05 18:21:53-04

WILSON, OK — 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, 2020 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 identified, 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."

"Jared’s death was completely avoidable," Steven Terrill, the Lakey family's attorney, said in a statement to ABC News. "The conduct of these officers and the video (which the Bryan & Terrill firm hopes will be available soon) should be a constant reminder that we cannot depend on police officers to self-report use of force encounters that go too far or violate policy."

"Anytime there is a law enforcement encounter with the public involving use of force, accountability and transparency should be paramount for any officer, the department, and that governmental entity," he added.

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 pleaded not guilty.

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."

Their next court date for a preliminary conference is on Aug. 27 at 9:30 a.m.

The officers reportedly have been placed on administrative leave.

Terrill, the family's lawyer, took issue with the officers' punishment, saying, "While criminal charges have been filed against two of three officers involved in Jared’s death, when will the City of Wilson and the Wilson Police Department address why Dingman and Taylor were actively working for the last year?"

When contacted, a dispatcher with the Wilson Police Department referred questions to the city's mayor, who did not return request for comment.