Supreme Court Rules Against Cop Who Tasered Handcuffed Man to Death

Emerson Rensink | The Anti-Media

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a decision that let a former Louisiana police officer off the hook for Tasering 21-year-old Baron Pikes to death.

During the January 2008 incident, Winnfield Police Officer Scott Nugent Tasered the handcuffed man at least eight times within 14 minutes for allegedly failing to stand up and walk to the police car. Image source:

Once at the police station, video captured officers shouting the “N”-word at Pikes, taunting him and asking him if he was high. Shortly after, Pikes collapsed to the floor, started foaming at the mouth and lost consciousness. Paramedics were unable to revive him, and he was pronounced dead later at the hospital.

According to CNN, the coroner who examined Pikes’ body, Dr. Randolph Williams ruled the death a homicide, claiming Nugent violated every police procedure for using a Taser.

Nugent was fired from the police department for using “unnecessary force and violence” according to the police chief but escaped a manslaughter conviction. His defense used the oft-cited “police immunity” clause that gives cops the benefit of the doubt in the line of duty.

However, after Monday’s ruling, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will have to reexamine its decision that originally prevented a civil trial from moving forward.

In lawyer Michael Vatis’ brief urging the Supreme Court to take up the case, he cited earlier circuit court findings that “the use of an electronic control weapon… on a suspect who was already within an officer’s control and posed no flight or safety risk was unconstitutional, even if the person failed to comply with an officer’s commands.”

The Supreme Court appeared to agree.

If the 5th Circuit Court reverses its decision, the young son of Baron Pikes will be allowed to move forward with a federal lawsuit seeking to recoup damages from Nugent.

Image source: ChickenBones

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Emerson Rensink is an Olympia-trans*planted activist, organizer and citizen journalist. He helped organize the global March Against Monsanto in May 2013. In addition to writing for The Anti-Media, Emerson’s work can be found at Center for a Stateless Society. In his free time, Emerson likes to watch depressing documentaries and find funny, pointless things on the Internet.

Follow Emerson on Twitter: @emersonrensink