October 14, 2011

Lawsuit Filed in the Taser-Killing of Javon Rakestrau

The mother of Javon Rakestrau has filed a federal lawsuit claiming excessive force using a taser in the wrongful death of her son on last October.   Her son was screaming for her right before he was tased-to-death by one of the Lafayette Parish deputies.   You can hear him yelling for his Mom on the dashcam video released by the police.   After the screams you hear the 50,000 volts of electricity being shot by the officer's taser gun ... then you hear nothing but silence.  You can tell that Javon is dead.

Deborah Rakestrau is asking for a jury trial in the civil case against Lafayette Parish Sheriff Michael Neustrom and Sheriff Deputy Chris Guidry. The case was filed September 30th and claims use of excessive force, pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, medical bills and expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of future companionship, loss of love and affection, grief, funeral expenses, attorney fees and punitive damages against Deputy Guidry. The case was filed by attorney Clayton Burgess who is representing Rakestrau's mother.

Rakestrau died as a result of an altercation ended with Deputy Guidry.  You can see the video of the incident here. The next day, Rakestrau's family and friends protested the police presence in their neighborhood and said Rakestrau's death was "unprovoked". On October 6, 2010, the Lafayette Sheriff's Office released the dashcam video as evidence that they said "proves" Deputy Guidry followed protocol.

The suit claims on the evening of October 4, 2010, Rakestrau was approached by Deputy Guidry who asked him to place his hands on the patrol vehicle. The suit says Rakestrau protested the stop and continued walking and "a scuffle ensued between Deputy Guidry and Rakestrau".

According to case documents, "Deputy Guidry then began to tase Javon Rakestrau, but Rakestrau did not respond. After repeated administration of electric shock by way of taser to Rakestrau's body, Deputy Guidry then realized Rakestrau was unresponsive".

The suit claims, "as a result of being repeatedly tased, Javon Rakestrau suffered a fatal asthma attack, filling his lungs with foam and blood, and was pronounced dead".

At the time that they released the dash cam video, the sheriff's office said the video showed, "Javon with his right hand holding his cell phone, saying he's calling police. Then he reaches for something with his left hand. He pulls the item from his pocket".   It turns out that Javon was UNARMED at the time of his arrest.   He didn't have to be killed that night.

Witnesses at the time claimed Rakestrau had his hands up and asked not to be tased.

The Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office said the suspect was uncooperative, and that's why he was tased by Deputy Chris Guidry.

They also said he was witnessed by an undercover deputy, doing a drug deal before he was tased. Authorities found drugs on him, after he was subdued.   I guess that a lawsuit is necessary in order for the sheriff and his boys to realize that having drugs on your person is not punishable by death.

1 comment:

Wayne Hicks said...

All - Taser lawsuit settled in taser death of Javon Rakestrau.