Wilson, OK – Two former Wilson police officers were found guilty on Friday of the murder of an unarmed naked man whom they Tased more than 50 times on the 4th of July in 2019.
Attorneys for former Wilson Police Officers Joshua Taylor and Brandon Dingman both said their clients planned to appeal their convictions, The New York Times reported.
A Carter County jury found Taylor and Dingman guilty of second-degree murder and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on Nov. 5.
The former law enforcement officers face sentences of 10 years to life in prison on the murder convictions, The New York Times reported.
Sentencing has been scheduled for Dec. 2.
Defense attorneys pointed to the fact that the coroner had said that 28-year-old Jared Lakey suffered from an enlarged heart and critical coronary artery disease prior to his death.
The medical examiner’s report said that the repeated Tasing contributed to Lakey’s death, The New York Times reported.
“We’re very disappointed in the verdict,” Warren Gotcher, Taylor’s attorney, said afterwards. “No one could look at him and tell that he had that much of a diseased heart.”
Shannon McMurray, the defense attorney for Dingman, called the case “a tragedy for everybody,” The New York Times reported.
McMurray said the officers had tried to avoid using other types of force on Lakey.
“They were truly, truly concerned for his safety and theirs if they had gone hands-on,” she said.
The incident occurred just before midnight on July 4, 2019 when officers responded to a call about a man who “was running naked down a street in Wilson and screaming,” The Daily Ardmoreite reported.
Wilson Police Officer Joshua Taylor responded to the scene first, according to The Frontier.
A civil lawsuit filed by Lakey’s family in May said that Officer Taylor wrote in the police report that the suspect was wearing nothing but socks and “appeared agitated,” The Daily Ardmoreite reported.
The police report said Officer Taylor asked Lakey where his clothes were and the naked man became aggressive.
“Okay, we going to do this,” Lakey replied, according to Officer Taylor.
The police report said Officer Taylor pulled out his Taser and ordered Lakey to the ground, The Daily Ardmoreite reported.
Then he called Wilson Police Officer Brandon Dingman for backup.
Both Officers Taylor and Dingman said that Lakey refused to comply with police commands so they Tased him, The Washington Post reported.
The lawsuit alleged the officers misrepresented what happened when they told paramedics who arrived on the scene that they had Tased Lakey “four times,” The Frontier reported.
Lakey was transported to the hospital and died two days later on July 6, 2019.
Court records showed the autopsy determined the 28-year-old man had died of “complications of myocardial infarction (clinical) in the setting of cardiomegaly and critical coronary atherosclerosis and law enforcement use of electrical weapon and restraint,” The Daily Ardmoreite reported.
The toxicology report showed there were no drugs in Lakey’s system at the time of the incident.
The Carter County Sheriff’s Department had sent a deputy to the scene so Carter County Sheriff Chris Bryant punted the investigation of the incident to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI).
The OSBI agent reviewed dashcam, bodycam, and Taser logs and discovered that Lakey had been Tased more than 50 times in a nine minutes period, The Daily Ardmoreite reported.
“The footage reveals numerous instances of both officers using their X26P tasers to send electrical shocks through [the victim’s] body in an apparent attempt to persuade him to put his hands behind his back as he lay on the ground,” the agent said in the charging documents. “[The victim] 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’.”
OSBI determined that Officer Taylor had deployed his Taser on Lakey 30 times, for a cumulative total of 122 seconds of Tasing activity.
Officer Dingman deployed his Taser on Lakey 23 times for a cumulative total of 114 seconds, The Daily Ardmoreite reported.
The charging affidavit filed by the OSBI said that the officers Tased Lakey for almost four minutes straight in a nine-minute time frame.
The OSBI agent said in the affidavit that Lakey never struck, grabbed, or made any other aggressive more toward the officers during the nine minutes they were Tasing him, The Daily Ardmoreite reported.
He said neither officer made any attempt to go hands on with the suspect before or after deploying Tasers.