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Louisiana grand jury to hear officer’s case in Taser death

From the Chicago Tribune

Seeking to defuse growing racial tensions in the small Louisiana town of Winnfield, the district attorney announced Monday that he would seek an indictment against a white officer in the death of a black man who was shocked nine times with a Taser while handcuffed.

Winn Parish Dist. Atty. Chris Nevils said he would convene a grand jury Aug. 12 to consider possible charges against the officer, Scott Nugent, 21, who was fired from the Winnfield Police Department after the death of Baron “Scooter” Pikes. The grand jury also will examine the conduct of two other officers who were present during the incident, Nevils said.

Pikes, 21, died Jan. 17 within 39 minutes of being arrested on a drug possession warrant. Winnfield police contend that Pikes told them he suffered from asthma and was high on crack and PCP, but the local coroner found that Pikes had been healthy and had no drugs in his system. The coroner ruled the death a homicide.

In his report of the incident, Nugent acknowledged that he had subdued and handcuffed Pikes after a foot chase and that Pikes had not struggled or resisted arrest. Nugent wrote that he began Tasering Pikes after the suspect did not respond quickly enough to Nugent’s order to stand up and walk to a police car.

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Witnesses reported that Pikes pleaded with Nugent and two other arresting officers to stop Tasering him. Grocery shoppers who saw the incident reportedly told the family that he said: “Please, you all got me. Please don’t Tase me again.”

Dr. Randolph Williams, the Winn Parish coroner, determined that Nugent administered nine 50,000-volt Taser shocks to Pikes over a 14-minute period -- and that the last two jolts were delivered after Pikes lost consciousness.


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