/ July 29, 2008

Louisiana Officer Could Face Charges after Taser Death

Officer Scott Nugent was suspended, then fired by the Louisiana State Police Department after he was found responsible for the death of a 21 year old man this January and now could face more serious consequences. Scott Pikes was killed after he was chased down by police and received a number of shocks from a taser, administered by Nugent. Officers were following up on a warrant for Pikes arrest on the grounds of cocaine possession but it appeared that during the chase he posed no harm to any of the officers restraining him. It was announced by the coroner’s office that Pikes did in fact die from the trauma resulting from nine different 50,000 volt shocks and that they were distributed even after he was cuffed and seated in the police vehicle.

Although the exact time of death can not be determined from the test results, the office is fairly certain that Pikes died before Nugent had discontinued his taser usage. The questionable actions of Nugent that ultimately led to Pikes death caused the police department to open an investigation and deliver their findings to the district attorney’s office. Following the release of the details to the DA, a grand jury was called upon to determine whether Nugent should be facing more than just unemployment. The grand jury is scheduled to meet beginning August 12th to determine whether the evidence found in the investigation is enough to begin a trial.

This tragic incident has been the source of quite a heated debate with many believing a trial will be the only way Nugent is brought to justice. While the evidence found has not been released to the public, it is known that of the 14 times tasers have been used since their introduction to the police force, 10 of those times Nugent has been the user. If this case were to come to trial it could bring up a number of issues the state of Louisiana has been dealing with. Not only would the trial answer questions of whether or not Nugent was using the taser carelessly but also if he was targeting Pikes due to his race and if tasers are necessary at all in Louisiana.

Source: CNN

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