A Louisiana State trooper pummeled a Black man with a flashlight as the man screamed that he was not resisting, body camera footage of a 2019 traffic stop obtained this week by The Associated Press shows.
The footage of the beating of 46-year-old Aaron Larry Bowman had been kept concealed for more than two years by the Louisiana State Police. The attack, which the trooper defended as “pain compliance,” left Bowman with a broken jaw and wrist, three broken ribs, and a gash on his head that required six staples.
The ACLU of Louisiana released a statement in response to the release of the video, writing, “The repugnant and unnecessary beating of Aaron Bowman—and countless Black people at the hands of this agency—confirms what we’ve known for too long: it is time for the federal government to intervene and put an end to LSP’s vile pattern of unconstitutional brutality against Black people.”
On May 30, 2019, Bowman was driving when he noticed what looked like a police vehicle following him. He continued driving to his home, which was only a few blocks away. Court documents in a lawsuit Bowman has filed say the police vehicle followed Bowman to his Monroe, Louisiana, home to initiate a traffic stop after he apparently had crossed the center line in the road while driving.
Officers questioned Bowman in his driveway, and they claim that when they tried to arrest him, he pulled away.
When 31-year-old trooper Jacob Brown arrived, officers were already on the ground with Bowman, struggling to place him in handcuffs. Brown became engaged in the struggle and struck Bowman with an aluminum flashlight 18 times in about 24 seconds, footage shows.
“Give me your f–king hands!” Brown yelled while striking Bowman as the man screamed.
“I’m not resisting! I’m not resisting!” Bowman said.
An arrest warrant issued for Brown in connection with the trooper’s actions during the arrest says, “The flashlight that Brown used was unique in that it was equipped with a special tip, known as a tactical tail cap, which attaches to the end of a flashlight and is designed to break automotive safety glass.”
Brown was arrested in December on one count of aggravated battery and one count of malfeasance in office following an investigation by the LSP Bureau of Investigations.
The incident involving Bowman happened just three weeks after Ronald Greene, another Black man, died as a result of an encounter with Louisiana troopers. Federal prosecutors are reviewing both cases as they investigate the Louisiana State Police over allegations of police brutality and cover-ups.
In October Bowman filed a suit against Brown and the Louisiana State Police and three other law enforcement agencies involved in the stop. State police only began investigating the incident after the suit was brought. On Wednesday state police said Brown “Engaged in excessive and unjustifiable actions,” and did not report the use of force to his superiors. He labeled the footage of the assault “citizen encounter” in an effort to prevent his supervisors from looking at it, the statement said.
Since 2015, all but four of Brown’s 23 use of force incidents targeted Black people. Besides the charges in Bowman’s case, Brown faces charges for the violent arrests of two other Black men.
“I kept thinking I was going to die that night,” Bowman told The Associated Press after watching footage of the encounter “It was like reliving it all over again. By watching it, I broke down all over again.”