Two Wilson police officers facing charges for second-degree murder
Two officers from the Wilson Police Department are facing charges for second-degree murder in relation to a use of force death that occurred nearly a year ago.
Jared Lakey, a 28-year-old Wilson man, died on the morning of July 6, 2019 — two days after allegedly being tased more than 50 times by officers Joshua Taylor and Brandon Dingman, according to Carter County court documents.
Court records state that the man’s cause of death was determined to have been “complications of myocardial infarction (clinical) in the setting of cardiomegaly and critical coronary atherosclerosis and law enforcement use of electrical weapon and restraint.”
An agent with the Oklahoma State Bureau of investigation was requested by Carter County Sheriff Chris Bryant to investigate the use of force incident on July 5, 2019. The Ardmoreite reported last July that CCSD responded to an assist call for Wilson PD on a report of an unknown man running down the street naked and screaming.
Bryant told the Ardmoreite in July 2019 that CCSD sent a single deputy to assist, and after reviewing the case and starting an investigation, Bryant made the decision to refer the case to the OSBI for further investigation.
Through the OSBI investigation, the OSBI agent reportedly determined that officers Taylor and Dingman made initial contact with the victim at around midnight on July 4, 2019, based on a call that he "was running naked down a street in Wilson and screaming."
According to court documents, the agent reviewed dash cam and body cam footage of the contact between the two officers and the victim.
“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 stated in an affidavit.
According to court filings, further examination of each officer’s taser data logs reportedly revealed that during the encounter with the victim, Officer Dingman deployed his taser 23 times with a cumulative total of 114 seconds of tasing activity over a period of nine minutes.
Officer Taylor allegedly deployed his taser 30 times for a cumulative total of 122 seconds of tasing activity over a period of nine minutes. According to the affidavit, this indicates that the victim was tased for almost four minutes straight within a nine-minute time frame.
The OSBI agent stated in the affidavit that the victim never struck, grabbed or made any aggressive move towards either officer during the nine minute time frame. The agent further states that neither officer ever attempted to control the man by placing their hands on him, contrary to training methods.
“(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’,” the affidavit states.
Court records allege that the use of force by the two officers was unnecessarily committed and refer to the tasing as an “excessive amount” that reportedly constituted a substantial factor in bringing about the victim’s death.
In a July 1 statement, District Attorney Craig Ladd explained reasons for the delay in the filing of charges against the officers. The OSBI investigation reportedly lasted for seven months before a final investigative report was submitted to the district attorney’s office.
After receiving the final report, Ladd said he searched for a use of force expert to review the evidence in the case and render an opinion on whether the use of force was excessive. This reportedly added an additional three months to the process.
The COVID-19 pandemic also reportedly slowed the process, with necessary meetings taking longer to arrange. Ladd said he was able to meet with the victim’s family this past Monday, and expressed his gratitude to the family for their patience.
“Hopefully, the fact that the criminal prosecution of those responsible for his death has begun will make this upcoming one-year anniversary of his death a little bit easier to bear, if only in the slightest,” Ladd said in the statement.
Wilson Mayor Frank Schaff said, on July 1, he considers the investigation to be ongoing and had no further comment at the time.
A felony warrant for arrest has been filed for both Wilson officers, with a bond in the sum of $500,000 each. More information will be provided as it becomes available.