Louisiana state troopers joked in a group text about beating a Black man after a high-speed chase in May 2020, new court documents show.
Trooper Jacob Brown, 30, who was charged in the beating of 29-year-old Antonio Harris, resigned on March 10.
Brown sent messages to three of his colleagues in a group text after Harris was beaten and arrested.
In one of the messages, troopers joked that the “whoopin” Harris got would make him have “nightmares for a long time.”
“He gonna be sore tomorrow for sure,” said Brown. “Warms my heart knowing we could educate that young man.”
After Brown pulled Harris over for a minor traffic violation on a Richland Parish interstate, Harris got back into his car and drove away.
The chase that followed lasted for 29 miles and reached speeds of 150 mph. The pursuit came to an end after deputies used a tire deflation device that caused Harris to veer off the road and into a ditch.
Although Harris “immediately” surrendered, the responding officers went on to use an excessive amount of force.
Harris “laid face down (prone) on the ground and extended his arms away from his body and his legs spread apart,” and was approached by Trooper Dakota DeMoss, who delivered a “knee strike,” and slapped him before shutting off his body camera.
A Louisiana State Police investigation found that Harris did not resist arrest at any time, even as Trooper George Harper struck him several times with a flashlight while Brown pulled his hair.
The troopers produced false reports about the incident and said Harris resisted arrest and tried to flee. The troopers also tried to cover up the fact that there was body camera footage of the beating.
Over 14 messages, the men joked and bragged about the beating.
“BET he wont run from a full grown bear again,” Brown wrote.
“Bet he don’t even cross into LA anymore,” DeMoss responded, who earlier jeered that Harris was “still digesting that ass whoopin.”
“He gonna spread the word that’s for damn sure,” Harper added.
Both DeMoss and Harper have also been charged over the beating.
Brown also faces charges in connection with two other arrests on matters related to use of force. He has been charged in a July 2019 arrest of a Black man on drug charges following a traffic stop. Body camera footage of the arrest captured the physical abuse the man endured as Brown worked with another trooper.
Battery and malfeasance charges were filed against Brown in the May 2019 arrest of a Aaron Bowman, who claimed he suffered broken ribs as a result of being beaten with a flashlight in the driveway of his home.
Bowman, who has filed a civil suit over the beating, said at a news conference on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol on Dec. 14, “Every time I got ready to speak, he would hit me with the flashlight.”
“It tears me down when I talk about it,” he continued, weeping as he spoke. “It’s like I’m reliving that moment again, you know, and I still have sharp pains in my head from that.”
Louisiana State Police were also involved in the high-speed chase that preceded the death of 49-year-old Ronald Greene in 2019. Police claimed Greene died from injuries he sustained when his car crashed into a tree at the end of the chase, but his family has disputed this, pointing out that minimal damage was done to the vehicle.
Footage of the incident made public earlier this month shows Master Trooper Kory York dragging Greene “on his stomach by the leg shackles” before he died.
York was suspended without pay for 50 hours this month.