Nov 9, 2021 - Health

2 former officers who used Tasers on man over 50 times convicted of murder

a yellow taser seen in an up close shot of a police officer's belt.

A Taser holstered on a police officer's belt. Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

Two former Oklahoma police officers who used Tasers over 50 times on an unarmed man who later died have been convicted of second-degree murder, the New York Times reported Monday.

Why it matters: The death of Jared Lakey, 28, from a heart attack following his July 2019 arrest brought to the fore the issue of police using stun guns, with advocates arguing they're safer than firearms and critics saying they've contributed to "many fatalities," the NYT notes.

  • It's also an example of excessive force being used by police, argued prosecutors — who noted that "in Oklahoma, officers are only permitted to use the degree of force "reasonably necessary under the circumstances," according to the NYT.
  • Police were instructed that the use of Tasers should be limited to 15 seconds, prosecutors said, per the NYT. Lakey's exposure exceeded three minutes.

Details: Brandon Dingman and Joshua Taylor, then serving Wilson, Oklahoma, police officers, were responding to a call that "involved Lakey acting in a disorderly way," per an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation statement.

  • The pair repeatedly used their Tasers when Lakey didn't comply, the bureau said. Lakey was hospitalized and died in custody two days later.
  • The Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined his death was due to complications of a heart attack "and law enforcement use of electrical weapon and restraint," according to the Daily Ardmoreite.

Of note: A jury in Carter County, Oklahoma, on Friday also found Dingman and Taylor guilty of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, per the NYT.

  • The second-degree murder charge carries a possible sentence of 10 years to life in prison.

What's next: Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 2.

  • Lawyers for Dingman and Taylor said they would appeal the convictions.
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