Shreveport, LA – A federal grand jury indicted former Louisiana State Trooper Jacob Brown for using excessive force in 2019 when he repeatedly struck a driver in the head with a tactical flashlight during an arrest.
The grand jury in Shreveport voted on Sept. 23 to charge Brown with a single count of deprivation of rights under color of law, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
If convicted of the charge, Brown could face up to 10 years in federal prison.
The former trooper was already facing state charges in connection with the incident.
The incident began on May 30, 2019 when a deputy with the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office saw an SUV cross over the centerline of the road, The New York Times reported.
The deputy said that then-46-year-old Aaron Larry Bowman initially ignored his lights and siren and did not stop.
When Bowman finally stopped, he told the deputies he had been afraid to pull over and had been trying to make it home so his car would be at his house if he were to be arrested, The New York Times reported.
The incident report filed with the sheriff’s department said that Bowman resisted arrest and struggled with officers.
The report said that Bowman struck the deputy on the head with a closed fist during the altercation, The New York Times reported.
Bowman was arrested and charged with multiple offenses including battery of a police officer, resisting an officer, and his original traffic violation, improper lane usage.
Bowman was transported to the hospital for treatment of his injuries after he was taken into custody, the Associated Press reported.
He had a broken jaw, three broken ribs, a broken wrist, and a gash on his head that required six staples.
It wasn’t until after Bowman filed a civil lawsuit against the Louisiana State Police for the beating that he received during his arrest that the law enforcement agency launched an investigation into the incident, the Associated Press reported.
Court documents showed that now-former Trooper Brown arrived on the scene of Bowman’s arrest after deputies had already forcibly removed the driver from the car.
Detectives wrote in an investigative report that Trooper Brown was carrying an eight-inch flashlight with a pointed end meant to be used to shatter car glass when he jumped out of his patrol vehicle and ran to assist the deputies, the Associated Press reported.
Within two seconds of making “initial contact,” Trooper Brown began hitting Bowman with his flashlight, according to the investigative report.
Detectives said that Trooper Brown hit Bowman 18 times in 24 seconds, the Associated Press reported.
Keith Whiddon, Bowman’s attorney, said the state police initially denied the existence of bodycam video from the incident, the Associated Press reported.
But Trooper Brown’s bodycam video from that night did exist and was obtained by the Associated Press and released on Aug. 25.
It’s not known how the news agency obtained the video, The New York Times reported.
The video showed how the chaotic scene unfolded with Bowman on the ground and multiple officers trying to subdue him.
Trooper Brown told investigators that the blows to Bowman with the flashlight were “pain compliance” to try to get the man to let them put handcuffs on him, the Associated Press reported.
Investigators determined that Trooper Brown’s use of force against Bowman was not reasonable or necessary, according to the report.
The report also said investigators believed Trooper Brown had intentionally mislabeled his bodycam footage from Bowman’s arrest as a “citizen encounter” and called it “an intentional attempt to hide the video from any administrative review,” the Associated Press reported.
The findings were the impetus for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to launch a federal “pattern and practice” investigation into the Louisiana State Police.
Separate from the federal investigation, Trooper Brown was charged with second-degree battery and malfeasance in connection with Bowman’s arrest, the Associated Press reported.
Trooper Brown, the son of former Louisiana State Police Assistant Superintendent Bob Brown, resigned from the state police in March, The New York Times reported.
The former trooper is also facing charges in connection with two other violent arrests, including the one which led to the death of Ronald Greene in custody.