Three white Louisiana state police officers are facing misdemeanor charges after beating a Black man so bad that he spit up blood.
Antonio Harris reportedly had sore ribs for days after the officers met him with blows after a 2020 high-speed chase. The officers dragged Harris by his braids, kneed, slapped and punched him down while he lay face down with limbs sprawled.
“They kept saying ‘Stop resisting,’ but I was never resisting,” Harris told investigators. “As soon as they got to me, one of them kneed me in my face. One of them was squeezing my eyes.”
The charges come as the Louisiana State Police is under the microscope for excessive force. Federal authorities are currently looking into Harris’ case and the death of Ronald Greene, another Black man, who was tased, punched and dragged Greene by white troopers in 2019.
Greene’s beating was also caught on video, but officials initially said he died from a crash during their pursuit. A federal grand jury has been convened to review Harris’ case, and federal investigators and a state legislative committee are examining Greene’s.
The state police have been hit with lawsuits from both men’s families.
Troopers Jacob Brown, Dakota DeMoss and George “Kam” Harper face six months in prison and a $1,000 fine for battering Harris. The troopers were arrested in February 2021 and were also charged with felony malfeasance in office, but prosecutors opted to drop the more severe offense.
Brown discovered Harris had a suspended license and multiple warrants when he pulled him over in May 2020. According to reports, Harris then led state troopers on a 29-mile chase, going up to 150 mph. Harris stopped next to a cornfield and surrendered after authorities disabled his tires, reports show. Brown reportedly turned off his body-worn camera and wrote in his report that Harris attempted to flee on foot and fended off the troopers and disobeyed their commands.
Investigators later discovered other body-worn camera footage that revealed Harris “immediately surrendered,” reports show
“I’m going to punish you, dumb b-tch,” Harper told Harris.
The troopers bragged about dishing out a “whoopin'” that would give Harris “nightmares for a long time” in a chain of 14 text messages.
“He gonna be sore tomorrow for sure,” Brown texted. “BET he wont run from a full grown bear again.”
According to reports, many of the troopers responded to a discussion of the beating with “lol” and “haha,” according to reports
Brown has a history of using excessive force. The U.S. Department of Justice indicted him for a civil rights violation in September after he flogged Andrew Bowman with a flashlight 18 times.
Bowman had already reached his home and parked when troopers pulled him from his vehicle in May 2019. Brown, who arrived to the scene after Bowman was out of the vehicle, brutalized the Black man with the flashlight for 24 seconds and later justified his actions as “pain compliance.”
Brown resigned from the Louisiana State Police in March 2021. If he is convicted of the federal charge, he faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
“I kept thinking I was going to die that night,” a tearful Bowman said after watching footage of the encounter that took 546 days after the incident to be released. “It was like reliving it all over again. By watching it, I broke down all over again.”
Last year June, The Associated Press reported that a secret panel tasked with examining whether officers systematically target Black motorists for abuse was shut down.
“Hyper-aggressiveness is winked upon and nodded and allowed to go on,” said Andrew Scott, a use-of-force expert who reviewed the videos “It’s very clear that the agency accepts that type of behavior.”