Javon Rakestrau’s mother has filed a wrongful death claim in the tasering death of her son, which occurred last October in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Deborah Rakestrau is asking for a jury-decided civil trial against Lafayette Parish Sheriff Michael Neustrom and Sheriff Deputy Chris Guidry. The suit alleges excessive force, pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical bills and expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional pain and suffering, loss of future companionship, loss of love and affection and grief, and asks for funeral expenses, attorney fees and punitive damages.
Javon was pronounced dead at the scene after a struggle with officer Guidry resulted in the deputy using a taser on the young man. The next day, Lafayette residents turned out en masse to protest the police’s presence in their town, and to declare the killing both excessive and unprovoked.
According to the suit, Javon was walking when the deputy pulled over and ordered him to stop and put his hands on the vehicle. Javon disputed the stop and continued walking, at which point the officer and Javon began an altercation. It was at this point the deputy tased Javon, who did not respond. The officer continued tasing Javon at least one further time, apparently before realizing the man was unresponsive.
According to the report, this tasing caused a severe asthma attack that filled Javon’s lungs with blood and foam, killing him before the ambulance could arrive.
The Sherriff’s office said that Deputy Guidry followed protocol and only tased Javon when he resisted and refused to put his hands behind his back. Witnesses nearby dispute this claim, saying the man had his hands raised and was complying, even asking repeatedly not to be tased when Deputy Guidry went for his ‘electronic control device.’
Deputies counter that he was also observed by an undercover drugs officer who was nearby, and drugs were apparently found on Javon after the tasing. No date is yet scheduled for the case.