Jacob Brown, a former Louisiana state trooper who was caught on body camera footage as he struck Black motorist Aaron Larry Bowman 18 times with a flashlight, has been indicted by a grand jury for a civil rights violation.
According to the Associated Press, Brown was charged with one count of deprivation of rights under color of law for the beating of Bowman–which happened during a traffic stop in May 2019. Bowman had been pulled over for a traffic violation and forcibly removed from his vehicle by other troopers, per the AP, and Brown told investigators that he showed up to the scene because “he was in the area and was trying to get involved.”
Brown accused Bowman, 46, of hitting a deputy and said the reason he struck him with the flashlight was to act as a form of “pain compliance” to get Bowman into handcuffs. Bowman, who was charged with the battery of a police officer and resisting an officer, has denied being violent with the deputies.
From the AP:
Brown’s attorney, Scott Wolleson, declined to comment. Capt. Nick Manale, a state police spokesman, said Brown “engaged in excessive and unjustifiable actions and failed to report the use of force to his supervisors.”
“Any instance of unjustifiable use of force jeopardizes public safety and is a danger to our communities,” Manale said in an email. “These actions are inexcusable and have no place in professional public safety services.”
Bowman’s attorney, Donecia Banks-Miley, called the indictment “a sigh of relief.”
“We’re just trying to remain hopeful and trust the process of justice,” she told The Associated Press. “Aaron is extremely happy and he just wants full justice.”
Brown’s indictment comes as the Louisiana State Police face intense criticism for the 2019 death of Ronald Greene, who was beaten, tased and dragged by troopers after a high-speed chase and later died while in their custody.
An AP investigation found that Greene’s case was one of many other violent beatings of Black people that was kept under wraps by state police officials to slow down attempts to fight misconduct within the department.
More from the AP:
Brown, 31, failed to report his use of force and mislabeled his body-camera footage in what investigators described in internal records as “an intentional attempt to hide the video.” State police didn’t investigate the attack until 536 days later, and only did so after a lawsuit from Bowman.
Jacob Brown was perhaps the Louisiana State Police’s most prolifically violent trooper in recent years. Records show he tallied 23 uses of force dating to 2015 — 19 on Black people — and he faces state charges in Bowman’s case and two other violent arrests of Black motorists.
The Advocate reports that one of the excessive force cases against Brown involved him and two other troopers allegedly texting about giving a Black motorist an “ass whoopin” that he would remember for a long time.
Per The Advocate:
The messages are peppered with abbreviations for “laughing out loud” and “laughing my ass off.”
“He gonna be sore tomorrow for sure,” Brown wrote in a text. “LMAO … warms my heart knowing we could educate that young man.”
The third incident that got Brown arrested also involved a Black man subjected to unnecessary force, together suggesting a pattern of abuse and a toxic culture among troopers.
Brown faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 if convicted on his federal charge, according to The Advocate.