In footage obtained and published by the Associated Press on Wednesday, Louisiana State Police trooper Jacob Brown was caught on body camera footage beating Black motorist Aaron Larry Bowman with a flashlight during a traffic stop in May 2019.
Bowman was struck with a flashlight 18 times by the white now-former officer after he was forcibly removed from his car. Bowman was left with a broken jaw, three broken ribs, a broken wrist and a gash to his head, according to AP. The video had been kept secret for more than two years, AP notes.
On the night Bowman was pulled over for a traffic violation, Brown came upon the scene after deputies had forcibly removed Bowman from his vehicle and taken him to the ground. The trooper later told investigators he “was in the area and was trying to get involved.”
Wielding an 8-inch aluminum flashlight reinforced with a pointed end to shatter car glass, Brown jumped out of his state police vehicle and began bashing Bowman on his head and body within two seconds of “initial contact” — unleashing 18 strikes in 24 seconds, detectives wrote in an investigative report.
“Give me your f——— hands!” the trooper shouted. “I ain’t messing with you.”
Bowman tried to explain several times that he was a dialysis patient, had done nothing wrong and wasn’t resisting, saying, “I’m not fighting you, you’re fighting me.”
Brown responded with: “Shut the f—- up!” and “You ain’t listening.”
Bowman later can be heard moaning, still on the ground. “I’m bleeding!” he said. “They hit me in the head with a flashlight!”
Brown said that Bowman had hit a deputy and the beating caught on camera was “pain compliance” while trying to get Bowman into handcuffs. Bowman denies hitting anyone.
State police released a statement on Wednesday saying that Brown intentionally mislabeled his bodycam footage and did not report the “unjustifiable” use-of-force. According to the state police records, AP reports, the former officer has been involved in 23 use-of-force incidents since 2015, 19 of which had Black “suspects.” Brown resigned in March.
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The Root reported that the same state troopers’ unit is under several investigations for abusing Black people following the in-custody death of Ronald Greene in 2019. Less than three weeks before Bowman’s violent arrest, Greene failed to stop for a traffic violation and was beaten, tased, and dragged after a high-speed chase with troopers. Both cases are part of a larger federal investigation into police brutality and potential cover-ups in the department. Federal prosecutors will be bringing their findings in the Greene case to a grand jury by the end of the summer.
According to Forbes, Brown faces charges of second-degree battery and malfeasance in the Bowman case as well as state charges in two other violent arrests of Black motorists. The Louisiana branch of the American Civil Liberties Union published a statement following the video’s release accusing the Louisiana State Police of decades of misconduct and countless incidents of police brutality against Black people.
During an interview with AP, Bowman said he feared for his life that night, “It was like reliving it all over again. By watching it, I broke down all over again,” he said, “I don’t want nobody to go through that.”