Louisiana law enforcement is once again being accused of abusing another Black man.
Now Louisiana officers are being accused of abusing Jarius Brown, a 27-year-old who was arrested and charged with stealing a vehicle in 2019. According to the Associated Press, the ACLU of Louisiana filed lawsuits in court that challenges the state’s one-year statute of limitations on lawsuits alleging police abuse and accuses sheriff’s deputies of punching Brown so hard that they broke his nose and eye socket.
The alleged beating occurred when Brown was being booked into a DeSoto Parish jail in north Louisiana. The lawsuit was filed against former DeSoto Parish deputy Javarrea Pouncy, an unnamed deputy, and the state trooper who arrested Brown, AP notes.
Here is what the lawsuit says, according to AP:
Brown’s account of the beating “is consistent with an extensive history of violence and police brutality committed by members of Louisiana law enforcement,” the ACLU official said in a news release. ”That conduct has unfortunately been present for decades and has been implicitly endorsed by Louisiana State Police troopers and officials — the very force that initiated Mr. Brown’s arrest.”
The lawsuit cited an article in a series of Associated Press reports on a decade-long pattern of state police hiding videos and other information about violence by troopers.
Last year, KSLA aired a video of Brown in a police interview. In the video, Brown’s left eye was swollen shut and blood and saliva were dripping from his mouth. AP notes that he seemed to be trying to stay conscious. Brown struggled to answer the trooper’s questions and eventually asked for medical help. He was only taken to the hospital after another deputy noticed his condition.
More from AP:
Brown had just been processed and was wearing inmate’s clothing when he was brought before the officer, the station reported. On camera, the officer asks a deputy, “What happened to him? He resisted?” and the deputy nods yes.
Pouncy did not respond to a call or a text to two phone numbers identified in an online database as possibly his. He no longer works for the sheriff’s office or for the Coushatta Police Department, where KSLA reported he was working a year ago. The lawsuit said Pouncy left the sheriff’s office after coming under investigation.
Capt. Nick Manale, head of state police public affairs, said the agency’s legal staff had not received the lawsuit yet in an email to AP. A spokesman for the sheriff’s office, Deputy Mark Pierce, also responded in an email saying, “This matter has been investigated both internally and by the Louisiana State Police. The matter is now in litigation, therefore, our office will have no further comments to provide at this time.”
Louisiana’s one-year statute will need to be deemed unconstitutional by a judge before the lawsuit is considered. AP notes that challenges to the statute have been dismissed before, but ACLU legal director Nora Ahmed hopes the judge will consider this challenge because it cites the recent opinions of legal scholars.
Brown’s case is one of 400 other police abuse cases brought to the ACLU of Louisiana and this is the 22nd lawsuit filed as a part of their “Justice Lab” campaign, the AP reports.