A 21 year old black man in Winnfield, Louisiana, named Baron "Scooter" Pikes, was tasered 9 times in 14 minutes by a white police officer in January after he was arrested and handcuffed. He died. Seems a tad excessive to me. However, here's the story of his arrest and subsequent death according to the police report by the arresting officers:
Update [2008-7-20 15:34:52 by Steven D]: Title changed for Clarity.
[Police Officer] Nugent spotted Pikes walking along the street and attempted to arrest him on an outstanding warrant for drug possession, according to Police Chief Johnny Ray Carpenter. Pikes took off running, but another officer cornered him outside a nearby grocery store. Pikes resisted arrest and Nugent subdued him with a shock from a Taser.
Then on the way to the police station, Carpenter told the newspaper, Pikes fell ill and told the officers he suffered from asthma and was high on crack cocaine and PCP. The officers called for an ambulance, but Pikes later died at the hospital.
So Mr. Pikes was high on PCP, crack cocaine and had a serious asthma condition? That poor man was seriously messed up if he smoked crack and took PCP with an existing asthma condition. The again, perhaps we should take a look at what the subsequent autopsy report by the Parish Coroner found:
An autopsy determined there were no drugs in Pikes' system and that he did not have asthma, according to Dr. Randolph Williams, the Winn Parish coroner.
Gee, that doesn't exactly corroborate the police account of what happened to poor Mr. Pikes, now does it. But what about the resisting arrest part? Aren't police entitled to use appropriate force when someone is violently resisting arrest? What horrible acts did that allegedly drug crazed Mr. Pikes do to require these multiple taser shocks? Well, here's what Officer Nugent, the individual who administered the multiple taserings of Mr Pikes, said about that:
Moreover, Pikes did not resist arrest, and he was handcuffed while lying on the ground, according to Nugent's police report of the incident. It was only after Pikes refused Nugent's command to stand up that the officer applied the first Taser shock in the middle of his back, Nugent wrote.
Several more Taser shocks followed quickly, Nugent stated, because Pikes kept falling down and refusing to get back up. Grocery shoppers who witnessed the incident later told Pikes' family that he had pleaded with Nugent: "Please, you all got me. Please don't Tase me again."
So he deserved multiple taserings because he didn't stand up fast enough, and then after each taser shock he was unable to get up off the ground fast enough to please this Officer Nugent? Wow. That's one dangerous man, lying on the ground writhing in pain, literally begging Officer Nugent to stop tasering him. I can certainly see why Officer Nugent was forced to taser Mr. Pikes, again and again, in order to subdue him. What else could he have done? I mean, it's not like Officer Nugent likes to use his taser on criminal suspects. I'm sure he only uses it when he absolutely has to according to proper police protocols. Or does he?
[Coroner] Williams said police records showed Nugent administered nine Taser shocks to Pikes over a 14-minute period. The last two jolts, delivered as police pulled Pikes from a patrol car at the police station, elicited no reaction because the suspect was unconscious, Williams said. [...]
In less than two years on Winnfield's 20-officer police force, police records show, Nugent ranked as the department's most aggressive Taser user. Among the recipients were a 15-year-old African-American runaway who was not charged with any crime and Pikes' father, currently serving a prison sentence for a drug offense, who was Tasered by Nugent last year, according to Kayshon Collins.
Okay, so Officer Nugent might be a little
trigger happy overenthusiastic in his use of the taser on criminal suspects or black teenage runaways. But that doesn't necessarily mean he meant any harm to come to Mr. Pikes. Oh wait, maybe we should reserve judgment on that point . . .
After consulting about the case with Dr. Michael Baden, a nationally prominent forensic pathologist, Williams ruled last month that Pikes' death was a homicide. On the death certificate, he listed the cause of death as "cardiac arrest following nine 50,000-volt electroshock applications from a conductive electrical weapon."
"God did not just call this young man home," said Williams, who has served as parish coroner for the past 33 years. "If somebody can tell me anything else that killed this otherwise perfectly healthy young man ... I'd like to know it." [...]
"This case may be the most unnecessary death I have ever had to investigate," Williams said. "[Pikes] put up no fuss, no fighting, no physical aggression. ... He just didn't respond quickly enough to the officer's commands."
As we all know, African American men are well known as dangerous, crack smoking criminal degenerates (and always have been) and Mr. Pikes was undoubtedly a very evil, evil man. Even so, I think Officer Nugent just may have gone above and beyond the call of duty when he electrocuted Mr. Spikes to death for the crime of not responding quickly enough to the good Officer's commands. Indeed, one can only wonder if Officer Nugent, under similar circumstances, would have tasered a white suspect who was handcuffed and in his custody 9 fucking times in 14 goddamn minutes.
I suspect Officer Nugent would have acted differently toward a white man under his control, but we'll never know, especially since Officer Nugent isn't talking to the press, and depending on what the Grand Jury decides, may never be called to account for his actions in tasering Mr. Pikes 9 fucking times in 14 goddamn minutes while Pikes groveled at his feet begging for mercy.
Jesus wept, it says in the Bible. I don't know if Jesus wept again after Baron Pikes died, but I'll bet his family did. I'll bet they cried for days on end. On the other hand, I'll bet that Officer Nugent did not cry after he killed Mr. Pikes by tasering him 9 fucking times in 14 goddamn minutes. Not part of his job description, after all.
Also posted at Booman Tribune.