A former Louisiana State Police trooper is facing federal charges after beating a Black motorist with a flashlight, the U.S. Department of Justice announced on Thursday (Sept. 23). A federal grand jury in Shreveport, Louisiana indicted ex-officer Jacob Brown, charging him with a single count of deprivation of rights under color of law for his 2019 assault on 46-year-old Aaron Larry Bowman.
According to the indictment, Brown, who is white, repeatedly hit Bowman in the head and body with his flashlight, which had a metal tactical cap designed for breaking glass. During the May 30, 2019 confrontation, Brown was caught on his body-worn camera beating Bowman with the flashlight while the man yelled, “I’m not resisting! I’m not resisting!” Bowman was left with a broken jaw, three broken ribs, a broken wrist and a head wound that required six staples due to the beating.
“Specifically, Brown repeatedly struck A.B. (Bowman) in the head and body with a metal flashlight with a tactical cap without legal justification,” the indictment reads.
This delayed an internal probe, and it wasn’t until Bowman filed a civil suit against the police department – almost two years later – that state authorities investigated the incident.
“We are pleased that the two-year battle to hold [Brown] accountable for what happened to Aaron has taken a step in the right direction,” Bowman’s attorney Ron Haley told CNN. “Two years for such an obvious display of abuse should not have taken this long, but justice is never too late.”
If convicted, Brown could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The ex-cop is also facing state criminal charges, including aggravated second-degree battery and malfeasance in office for “using unreasonable force” during the arrests of Bowman and two other Black motorists.
According to records obtained by the Associated Press, Brown amassed 23 use-of-force incidents, almost all of them against Black people, as an officer since 2015. He was arrested in December and resigned from the police department in March.
A federal probe into the Louisiana State Police for excessive force is also ongoing.