Oklahoma police officers who allegedly tased suspect 50 times have been charged with murder

Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations

Two police officers from the town of Wilson, OK, have been charged with murder for their role in the 2019 death of 28-year-old Jared Lakey, the state's Bureau of Investigations announced on Thursday.

According to the BOI, officers Joshua Taylor and Brandon Dingman are out on bond after turning themselves in to the Carter County Sheriff’s Office, where they were each booked on one count of 2nd degree murder. If convicted, Taylor and Dingman reportedly could face between 10 years and life in prison.

In a press release announcing the charges, the BOI claims Taylor and Dingman were initially responding to a July 4, 2019 call "that involved Lakey acting in a disorderly way." Although the BOI does not detail Lakey's behavior, a lawsuit filed by his family and obtained by the New York Times states that police radio logs from the incident describe him as "screaming and running down the road."

"When Lakey would not comply with commands from the officers, Taylor and Dingman used their tasers multiple times," the BOI states in its press release. "A Carter County deputy eventually responded to the scene and was able to assist with getting Lakey in custody. Shortly thereafter, Lakey stopped breathing and became unresponsive."

The Oklahoma Bureau of Investigations agent tasked with pursuing the case stated in an affidavit that there was no evidence to suggest that Lakey had behaved aggressively toward the officers. According to court documents obtained by The Oklahoman, officers Taylor and Dingman used their tasers more than 50 times on Lakey for nearly four cumulative minutes while trying to get him to put his hands behind his back as he lay prone on the ground. The agent also stated that neither officer attempted to manually put Lakey's hands behind his back themselves.

Lakey was eventually taken to a nearby hospital and died two days later.

Spencer Bryan, an attorney for Lakey's family told the Times that after viewing body camera footage of the incident, "I cannot understand how the city allowed officers who exhibited such gross recklessness, resulting in a man’s death, to continue working." The Wilson police department has not responded to requests from both the Times and The Hill asking whether either officer is still employed by the department.

"We have great confidence the evidence supports the charges," Bryan continued.

Both officers are reportedly represented by attorney Ryan Hunnicutt, who told the Times that Lakey's death "saddens us all."

"We are confident that the legal system will provide an opportunity for all the facts to be known and look forward to our day in court," Hunnicutt added."

The charges against Taylor and Dingman come amidst ongoing calls for law enforcement reform and abolition, following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in late March.