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Officer charged in death of Tasered man

  • Story Highlights
  • Coroner's report: Man who died was handcuffed, Tasered nine times
  • Officer charged with manslaughter, criminal malfeasance
  • Death of 21-year-old led to demonstrations in Louisiana town
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(CNN) -- A Louisiana grand jury indicted a former police officer on a manslaughter charge in the death of a man who was Tasered nine times while handcuffed, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Baron Pikes, 21, was Tasered nine times by a police officer in January in Winnfield, Louisiana.

Scott Nugent also was charged with felony criminal malfeasance in connection with the January death of Baron "Scooter" Pikes.

Pikes, a 21-year-old sawmill worker, tried to run from Winnfield police, who wanted to arrest him on a warrant charging him with cocaine possession.

A coroner's report found that Pikes was handcuffed and on the ground when first stunned with a Taser and might have been dead before the last two 50,000-volt shocks were delivered.

Nugent, who authorities said was the arresting officer, was suspended and ultimately fired in May.

If convicted, Nugent could get up to 40 years for the manslaughter charge and five years for the criminal malfeasance charge, Winn Parish District Attorney R. Chris Nevils said.

"It is our intention to show at trial that Mr. Nugent caused the death of Baron Pikes by Tasing him multiple times, unnecessarily and in violation of Louisiana law, and by failing to get him medical attention when it was apparent he needed it," Nevils said.

The indictment stems from a state police investigation into the death, which ended in late July.

Nugent's attorney, Phillip Terrell, could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday evening. He said earlier that his client had followed proper police procedure.

A copy of the Winnfield Police Department's Taser training manual, obtained by CNN, says the device "shall only be deployed in circumstances where it is deemed reasonably necessary to control a dangerous or violent subject."


Nugent is white; Pikes was black. Pikes' death led to demonstrations that drew several dozen people in Winnfield, Louisiana, a town of 15,000, roughly half of whom are black.

Police said Pikes told officers he suffered from asthma and had been using PCP and crack cocaine. But Dr. Randolph Williams, the Winn Parish medical examiner, said he found no sign of drug use in the autopsy and no record of asthma in Pikes' medical history.

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