Judge seals video in racially-charged Taser ‘homicide’
A potentially explosive video showing the death of a Louisiana man after being Tasered nine times in 14 minutes will be kept from the public for at least another five months, after a judge ordered the tape sealed.
Former Winnfield police officer Scott Nugent has been charged with manslaughter and malfeasance over the death of Baron “Scooter” Pikes on January 17, 2008. Pikes was handcuffed during each of the Taserings. Winnfield police say Pikes was resisting arrest on an outstanding warrant.
The case has raised allegations of police racism. According to unnamed sources who saw the videotape and talked to CNN, Pikes is shown handcuffed to a police station chair, being taunted with racist expletives including the “n-word” by voices off camera. The voices ask if he is on drugs. Pikes is then seen to froth at the mouth and slump over. He is eventually taken to hospital, unconscious and with his legs in shackles. Pikes was black and Nugent is white.
CNN reports that the parish coroner ruled Pikes’ death a “homicide,” and noted that the deceased man had no drugs in his system.
The 17-minute video of Pikes’ death was reportedly recorded by Nugent himself.
Jennifer Chou at Examiner.com reports that both prosecutors and the defense had asked for the tape to be sealed, concerned that releasing it could taint the jury pool for the trial. State Judge John Joyce agreed to the request, and has moved the trial to June, to allow Nugent’s lawyers to prepare for his defense.
This video is from CNN, broadcast Feb. 3, 2010.