MONROE, Louisiana (AP) – Graphic body camera video kept secret for more than two years shows a Louisiana State Police soldier hitting a black motorist 18 times with a flashlight – an attack the soldier made defended as a “conformity to pain”.
“I can’t resist! I can’t resist! Aaron Larry Bowman can be heard screaming between shots in footage obtained by The Associated Press. The May 2019 beating following a traffic check left him with a broken jaw, three broken ribs, a broken wrist and a gash on his head that required six staples to close.
The man speaks out after meeting with police leaving him with broken bones and a gash on his head that required six staples to close. (August 25)
Bowman’s encounter near his Monroe home came less than three weeks after struggling soldiers from the same agency hit, knocked out and dragged another black motorist, Ronald Greene, before dying in police custody on a rural road in northeast Louisiana. Video of Greene’s death likewise remained secret until AP got it and released it earlier this year.
Federal prosecutors review both cases in expanded investigation in police brutality and potential cover-ups involving both soldiers and senior state police officers.
State Police did not investigate the attack on Bowman until 536 days after it occurred – even though it was captured by a body camera – and only did so a few weeks after it happened. Bowman brought a civil action.
State Police released a statement on Wednesday saying Jacob Brown, the white soldier who hit Bowman, “engaged in excessive and unjustifiable actions” failed to report the use of force to his supervisors and “intentionally mislabeled” his body camera video.
Before resigning in March, Brown documented 23 incidents of use of force dating back to 2015, including 19 targeting blacks, according to state police records.
Aside from the federal investigation, Brown faces state charges of second degree assault and battery and embezzlement in the beating of Bowman. He also faces state charges in two other violent arrests of black motorists, one of which he bragged about last year in a group conversation with other soldiers, saying the suspect ” gonna hurt ”and“ it warms my heart to know that we could educate this young man. ”
The night Bowman was arrested for a traffic violation, Brown arrived at the scene after MPs forcibly removed Bowman from his vehicle and took him to the ground. The soldier later told investigators he “was in the area and trying to get involved.”
Wielding an 8-inch aluminum flashlight reinforced with a pointed end to smash the car window, Brown jumped out of his state police vehicle and began hitting Bowman on the head and body in both seconds after “initial contact” – triggering 18 keystrokes in 24 seconds, detectives wrote in an investigative report.
“Give me your f —— hands!” cried the horseman. “I’m not joking with you.”
Bowman tried to explain on several occasions that he was a dialysis patient, that he had done nothing wrong and that he didn’t resist by saying, “I’m not fighting you, you are fighting me.
Brown replied with: “Shut up the f—- up!” and “You’re not listening.”
Bowman is later heard moaning, still on the ground. “I’m bleeding!” he said. “They hit me on the head with a flashlight!”
Brown, 31, later said Bowman punched an assistant and the beating was a “pain conformity” meant to put him in handcuffs. Investigators who reviewed Brown’s video months after the fact determined that his use of force was neither reasonable nor necessary.
Brown did not respond to several messages seeking comment.
Bowman, 46, denied hitting anyone and is not seen in the video as being violent with officers. But he still faces a list of charges including assault and battery inflicted on a police officer, resistance to a police officer and the traffic violation for which he was initially arrested, improper use of lanes. .
Brown not only failed to report his use of force, but wrongly called his footage a “citizen encounter” in what investigators called an “intentional attempt to hide the video from administrative review.”
Bowman’s defense attorney Keith Whiddon said he was initially told there was no body camera video.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana said the video prompted federal authorities to conduct a so-called “model and practice” investigation of the state’s police.
“In the absence of federal oversight, the LSP will continue to expose Louisianans to constitutional rights violations,” said group executive director Alanah Odoms.
Robert Tew, the district attorney for Monroe, declined to discuss Brown’s case or anything to do with state police. “We’ll see what the DOJ has to do,” he said in a brief interview outside his home.
Bowman himself had only recently seen the footage, when US Department of Justice prosecutors showed it to him and his civilian attorney.
“I kept thinking I was going to die that night,” Bowman told the AP in tears in a recent interview. “It was like reliving it all. Looking at him, I cracked again.
“I don’t want anyone to go through this.”