Louisiana Officer Charged with Manslaughter Over Taser Killing

Officer Scott Nugent of Winnfield, Louisiana has been charged with manslaughter by a grand jury in the death of Baron “Scooter” Pikes, 21. Pikes was tasered nine times while handcuffed in a case that has raised racial questions in the state.

Nugent also was charged with felony criminal malfeasance in connection with the January death. Pikes was arrested on a warrant alleging cocaine possession. A coroner found that Pikes was not only handcuffed at the time but that he probably died by the seventh hit with the 50,000 volt shocks.
Nugent is facing up to 40 years for the manslaughter charge and five years for the criminal malfeasance charge. Both would probably run concurrently.

For the full story, click here.

9 thoughts on “Louisiana Officer Charged with Manslaughter Over Taser Killing”

  1. The Taser is an outstanding tool when used properly, it gives an additional option between the use of pepper spray, or a baton that may save a life where bullets will surely take a life. I agree it has been misused by some and those individuals should be dealt with accordingly, but to take a tool from all officers because of the mistakes of a few will surely cause more harm than good. The next option an officer has in a violant confrontation is a firearm. My heart goes out to those and their families who have been mistreated, but don’t judge the many by the stupidity of a few.

  2. Susan,
    Prof. Dershowitz probably explained it a lot better than I could. I agree with you that we’re beginning to come close to a police state. I have very personal feelings about this since a taser would kill me because of my heart condition. Unfortunately, I don’t like people who abuse their authority and my tendency is to be vocal about it, so I worry that faced with an unfair situation my demeanor might not be controlled enough to act with the subservience demanded. That’s when I become another story here at Prof. Turley’s site. Gulp. At least I would be sort of recycled.

  3. puzzling,

    That was an interesting juxtaposition with executions and summary executions via taser. The DARPA specials will likely be on display at the conventions as you point out. I also remember the FBI rounding up people they suspected of being protesters for questioning prior to their even leaving for conventions or other gatherings. Of course they might have rounded themselves up for questioning due to the number of law enforcement people acting as agent provocateurs and inflitrators. These people were caught on camera doing all kinds of illegal things. I hope people bring their own video/cameras and computers to get out law enforcement misbehavior in real time.

  4. Michael Spindell wrote:
    Unfortunately, it seems that police tolerance for anything less than total obedience by citizens, has in many instances disappeared.

    Michael, Alan Dershowitz made the same observation in one of his past columns. I believe it was in his collective work, titled “Contrary to Popular Opinion.” He called this attitude “contempt of cop, which is anything less than total worship of the uniform.” And he’s right, too many cops seem to go “ballistic” when they so much as hear a tone of voice they don’t like. The fact that we’re seeing too many taser incidents says to me we’re getting dangerously close to a police state, if we’re not already there.

  5. Puzzling,
    That products liability case is encouraging. I am not looking forward to seeing those other Sci-fi “safe” weapons being used to control the crowds at the conventions.

  6. We are a long way off from restrictions on Tasers or other instruments of government torture and summary execution.

    In 2007, I found the number of death penalty executions as 42. The statistics I could find showed a count of deaths by Taser running over one per week (and increasing), probably about 75 – 100 per year.

    Perhaps with the major party conventions coming up we can get some coverage of new devices like the millimeter-wave “Pain Ray” Active Denial System, or “temporarily” blinding Dazzler directed laser energy weapon… something that makes the Taser seem like an established, trusted tool of law enforcement. Perhaps that will shift the debate.

    The day I see police officers charged and claiming a “malfunction” of a Taser the defense, I’ll know we’ll have turned the corner. I don’t expect this anytime soon, although I did see that Taser lost a product liability suit in June: “A San Jose, California, jury yesterday said Taser had failed to warn police in Salinas, California, that prolonged exposure to electric shock from the device could cause a risk of cardiac arrest. The jury awarded $1 million in compensatory damages and $5.2 million in punitive damages to the estate of Robert Heston, 40, and his parents. The jury cleared the police officers of any liability.”

  7. The Taser is just one more weapon that needs to be removed from the arsenal of our Police and private security forces. This prosecution, if successful, may go along way in convincing local governments to dispose of the Taser or severely regulate the use of this dangerous device.

  8. I see this proliferation of taser incidents with growing concern. There have been too many incidents lately when police officers use the taser to punish people for lack of respect, or talking back to them. I can understand and I sympathize with police officers, who facing danger, protect themselves appropriately. Unfortunately, it seems that police tolerance for anything less than total obedience by citizens, has in many instances disappeared. Don’t they understand how contrary to our standards, legally and morally, this is?

  9. How does a White Cop essentially torture a defenseless Black man to death in an American city and only “several dozen” people protest? It’s not like Mr. Pikes was a real foreinger. Countless more Americans protested against ‘new Coke’.

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