Former Louisiana Trooper Faces Federal Civil Rights Charge

Body-camera footage shows the ex-trooper, Jacob Brown, repeatedly pummeling a Black man, Aaron Larry Bowman, with a flashlight during a traffic stop in 2019.,


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A federal grand jury indicted a former Louisiana State Trooper on Thursday on a federal civil rights violation, finding that he repeatedly clubbed a Black man with a flashlight during a traffic stop that was recorded by his body camera.

The former trooper, Jacob Brown, 31, was charged with one count of deprivation of rights under color of law, the U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Louisiana said in a news release. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

The indictment comes after the body-camera footage surfaced last month showing Mr. Brown striking Aaron Larry Bowman about 18 times in the head and chest with a flashlight while Mr. Bowman was pinned to the ground after a traffic stop in May 2019.

Mr. Brown later told investigators that he had used a flashlight as a baton as part of what he called “pain compliance,” according to an affidavit. Federal prosecutors described the flashlight as having a metal tactical cap designed for breaking glass.

As a result of the beating, Mr. Bowman sustained a broken jaw, three fractured ribs, a broken wrist and a gash to his head that required six staples to close, according to a lawyer who is representing him in a civil rights lawsuit filed last year in Louisiana against the State Police.

Mr. Brown, of Rayville, La., was arrested in February on charges of aggravated second-degree battery and malfeasance in office in connection with the assault. He resigned a month later. He also faces criminal charges in two unrelated excessive-force cases.

Lawyers representing Mr. Brown and Mr. Bowman did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday.

In the body-camera video that was obtained and published by The Associated Press, Mr. Bowman can be heard pleading with law enforcement officers in Monroe, La. “I’m not resisting,” he yells between blows. “I’m not resisting.” He was later taken to a hospital.

Mr. Bowman, now 46, was charged with resisting a police officer with force or violence, battery of a police officer, flight from an officer and improper lane use. He pleaded not guilty.

An offense report filed with the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office said that Mr. Bowman had ignored the lights and sirens of a deputy who tried to pull him over after the S.U.V. Mr. Bowman was driving crossed the centerline of a road. The deputy said that Mr. Bowman had struck him on the head with a closed fist and had struggled with him after telling officers that he had been afraid to pull over and wanted to park the vehicle at his home in case he went to jail.

A Louisiana State Police spokeswoman said last month that an investigation had determined that Mr. Brown’s body-camera footage had been “intentionally mislabeled.”

The A.P., citing State Police records, reported that Mr. Brown, who is white, had been involved in 23 instances that involved use of force, dating to 2015 — 19 of them targeting Black people.

Just weeks before the violent encounter with Mr. Bowman, Louisiana State Police troopers assigned to Troop F in Monroe had dragged, beaten and used a stun gun on another Black man, Ronald Greene. The encounter with Mr. Greene, who died as he was being taken to a hospital, was also captured in body-camera footage.

The State Police initially told Mr. Greene’s relatives that he had died from injuries sustained in a car crash after a high-speed chase, making no mention of the use of force by troopers.

Mr. Brown is among four troopers assigned to Troop F who were arrested earlier this year on charges that they used excessive force and deactivated their body cameras during arrests.

The U.S. attorney’s office said on Thursday that it had ongoing criminal investigations into encounters involving Louisiana state troopers that resulted in death or bodily injury.

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