Recorded on body cam video viciously beating an unarmed black man in police custody, a former Louisiana State Trooper was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury of deprivation of rights under color of law. The trooper was arrested on state charges last year and earlier this year for separate incidents.
On May 30, 2019, Louisiana State Police (LSP) Troopers pulled Aaron Bowman from his vehicle after a traffic stop and subdued him on the ground while attempting to place him in handcuffs. According to police body cam footage, Bowman put his hands behind his head and appeared to be cooperating with the officers when LSP Trooper Jacob Brown suddenly ran towards him and struck Bowman 18 times with a flashlight in 24 seconds.
In a statement from the Justice Department, Brown’s flashlight was described as a dangerous weapon because it had been modified with a metal tactical cap designed for breaking glass. Bowman reportedly suffered multiple injuries, including broken ribs, a fractured arm, and a laceration to his head.
Charged with improper lane usage, aggravated flight from an officer, resisting an officer, and battery of an officer, Bowman filed a civil lawsuit in October 2020. Accused of striking an officer, Bowman denies hitting anyone and does not appear to strike any of the troopers during the body cam video.
In December 2020, Brown was arrested on state charges of aggravated second degree battery for beating Bowman and malfeasance in office for attempting to mute the audio on his bodycam while mislabeling his body cam footage in an alleged attempt to hide it from investigators. In February 2021, Brown was arrested again on state charges along with three other troopers for beating motorists on two separate incidents in July 2019 and May 2020.
In March 2021, Brown resigned in disgrace. He served as part of Troop F in Northeast Louisiana.
On Thursday, a federal grand jury indicted Brown on one count of deprivation of rights under color of law for the beating of Aaron Bowman. If convicted, Brown faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.
“The department has previously acknowledged that it has open and ongoing criminal investigations into incidents involving the Louisiana State Police that resulted in death or bodily injury to arrestees,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “Those investigations remain ongoing.”