Wilson police officers facing murder charges put on administrative leave, house arrest
Two Wilson police officers charged with second-degree murder turned themselves in Thursday morning and have been placed on administrative leave. Both officers posted a $250,000 bond and are on house arrest with ankle monitor requirements.
The charges filed on Wednesday relate to the in-custody death of 28-year-old Jared Lakey, who died on July 6, 2019 after allegedly being tased more than 50 times by Wilson Police officers Joshua Taylor and Brandon Dingman.
An affidavit by the OSBI agent assigned to investigate the case alleged that the use of force by the two officers was unnecessarily committed and constituted a substantial factor in bringing about the victim’s death. In addition to the OSBI investigation, a civil lawsuit filed by Lakey’s family in late May paints a larger picture of the incident.
The lawsuit states that Officer Taylor was dispatched in response to “a male running down the street” at around midnight on July 4, 2019, which is corroborated by radio logs from the Carter County Sheriff's Office. In an incident report Taylor wrote after the encounter, there is no mention of the subject being naked until he arrives on scene.
In his report, Taylor states that the subject is only wearing socks and “appeared agitated,” something that Lakey’s family disputes in the lawsuit. After asking the subject where he lost his clothes, Taylor states that the subject said “okay, we going to do this” and allegedly became aggressive.
Taylor then states that he unholstered his taser and ordered the individual to the ground and to put his hands behind his back — at which point he reportedly contacted Dingman for assistance.
After contacting Dingman, Taylor allegedly advised dispatch that he “had one at taser point.” However, the attorney’s for Lakey’s family point to the radio log, which shows that Taylor deployed his taser for the first time within minutes of the encounter.
The civil lawsuit alleges that Taylor’s narrative describing how the encounter began is not corroborated by any video evidence, including body or dash cam footage, and further alleges that Taylor misrepresented what happened during the encounter with Lakey.
The OSBI agent who reportedly reviewed the dash cam and body cam footage of the contact between the two officers and the victim stated, in his affidavit, that the victim never struck, grabbed or made any aggressive move towards either officer during the encounter.
In Taylor’s incident report, he states that Lakey failed to comply with orders to place his hands behind his back and when Officer Dingman went to place the subject in handcuffs, “the individual went to raise up in an aggressive manner.”
Taylor states that this is the first time he deployed his taser and Dingman reportedly deployed his taser shortly after. In his description of the incident, Taylor describes several more "ineffective" deployments, stating that the subject continued to resist arrest and appeared agitated.
After review of the footage, the OSBI agent stated 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 attorney for Lakey’s family claims that officers advised medics that they had only tased Lakey “four times,” according to the EMS run sheet.
According to Carter County court filings, 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 OSBI agent’s affidavit, this indicates that the victim was tased for almost four minutes straight within a nine-minute time frame.
A deputy from the Carter County Sheriff’s Office, who was not charged with a crime, reportedly arrived on scene to assist the two Wilson officers. According to an incident report he wrote, the CCSO deputy placed Lakey in a neck restraint, causing him to go unconscious, and had the other officers place him in handcuffs.
In the incident report, the deputy states that the subject “was acting very agitated,” was naked and appeared to be under the influence of intoxicants. The deputy cited these reasons for using a neck restraint, adding that the subject was a larger man.
However, the attorneys for Lakey’s family claim that the post-mortem toxicology performed by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner was reportedly negative for all illegal drugs. They also assert that at the time Lakey was tased and restrained, he was not suspected of any violent crime.
According to deputy's reports, around four to five minutes after waking up from his unconscious state, Lakey reportedly stopped breathing and became unconscious again. He was transported to a hospital in Healdton and then to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City, where he died on the morning of July 6, 2019.
The civil lawsuit claims that medical records from Healdton Mercy also reportedly indicated that law enforcement informed medical providers that Lakey was under the influence of illegal drugs.
According to Carter County court records, his probable 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.”
Carter County Sheriff Chris 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.
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.
In his charging documents, Ladd states that the tasing of the victim "greatly exceeded what would have been necessary or warranted." Ladd filed charges for second-degree murder because there did not appear to be any "premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual."
Wilson Mayor Frank Schaff said, on July 1, he considers the investigation to be ongoing and had no further comment at the time. Schaff confirmed that the officers are on administrative leave. The Wilson Chief of Police has not responded to requests for comment at this time.
If found guilty, both officers could face up to life imprisonment.