A May 13, 2019 traffic stop by a Louisiana State Trooper left a Black motorist with a broken jaw, ribs, wrist, and head laceration that required six staples.
The former State Trooper Jacob Brown, 31, was indicted Thursday (Sept. 23) by a grand jury on one count of deprivation of rights under color of law, according to The Associated Press. The victim, Aaron Larry Brown, 46, was pummeled with a flashlight 18 times within 24 seconds, even after pleading “I’m not resisting! I’m not resisting!” as seen in graphic video footage.
The footage was kept secret for more than two years and state police didn’t look into the attack on Bowman until 536 after the occurrence, only done so after Bowman filed a civil lawsuit.
“I kept thinking I was going to die that night,” Bowman told The AP in an interview, with tears running down his face. “It was like reliving it all over again. By watching it, I broke down all over again.”
State police said in a statement in August stating that Bowman “engaged in excessive and unjustifiable actions.” Police say he failed to report his use of force to his supervisor and “intentionally mislabeled” the footage recorded on the body camera.
Less than three weeks prior to Bowman’s assault, which took place near his home, another Black motorist, Ronald Greene, died in police custody on a “rural roadside” in northeast Louisiana. This is just 20 miles away from Bowman’s tragic encounter. Parallel to Bowman’s assault, a video of Greene’s death was swept under the rug for two years before review.
Before his resignation in March, former State Trooper Brown had a total of 23 use-of-force incidents that date back to 2015. According to state police records, 19 of those targeted Black people.
There have been more than a dozen cases over the span of the last decade where troopers or their bosses have ignored or hid the evidence of beatings, according to an AP investigation. Lousiana State Police’s tally shows 67 percent of its uses of force were used against Black people. Civil Rights groups have made calls to the U.S. Justice Department, urging them to launch a “pattern and practice” check for potential racial profiling.
Head of the state police, Lamar Davis, said he welcomes the idea of the probe if the department sees it as a necessary step. But first, Davis wants the department to have the chance to work on the issues; he states they’ve already begun working on this.
“The department has previously acknowledged that it has open an ongoing criminal investigation into incidents involving the Louisiana State Police that resulted in death or bodily injury to arrestees,” the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.”
Donecia Banks-Miley, Bowman’s attorney, called the indictment a “sigh of relief.”
If convicted, Brown faces up to a decade in prison, just on federal charges alone.
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