R. Reese Fuller

Former Winnfield officer indicted in Taser case

by R. Reese Fuller

A Winn Parish grand jury has indicted a former Winnfield police officer on manslaughter and malfeasance charges for using a Taser on a handcuffed man and killing him. Scott Nugent, a former Winnfield police officer, was indicted for the death of Baron Pikes, who was shocked nine times with a Taser within 14 minutes. The parish coroner has indicated that Pikes had no drugs in his system and was handcuffed while he was shocked with 50,000 volts each time. The death was ruled a homicide.

The national media has begun to draw comparsions between Pikes' death and the Jena Six. The Associated Press writes:

Anger over Pikes' death has threatened to inflame racial tensions in Winnfield, where the population of roughly 5,800 is evenly divided between black and white residents. Pikes was black; Nugent is white.

The episode also has drawn comparisons to the so-called "Jena Six" case, which thrust a neighboring city in the national spotlight.

Winnfield is about 40 miles northwest of Jena, the site of a massive civil rights protest last year. Thousands of demonstrators gathered there to protest criminal cases against six black teenagers charged with beating a white student at a high school.

Read other accounts from The Town Talk and the Chicago Tribune.