A grand jury charged former Louisiana State Police trooper Jacob Brown with a civil rights violation Thursday. The alleged violation took place during the arrest of Aaron Bowman in 2019. The arrest left Bowman with broken ribs and a gash on his head.
“I’m bleeding. They hit me in the head with a flashlight,” Bowman said on police body cam video the night of the arrest.
Video and police records show Brown hit Bowman 18 times with a flashlight in 24 seconds. The charged former trooper trooper later said Bowman had hit a deputy, and the flashlight shots were “pain compliance” to get Bowman into handcuffs.
Bowman was charged with battery of a police officer and resisting arrest, among other charges related to the incident with the former trooper. Bowman has denied hitting anyone.
“I kept thinking I was going to die that night, because all I could do was – breathe, you know, and trying to keep myself from just going out, because they got my face mashed down in a mud puddle of water,” Bowman said in an interview this past August. “You know, I – it was scary.”
Bowman’s attorney called the indictment “a sigh of relief.”
“We’re just trying to remain hopeful and trust the process of justice,” Donecia Banks-Miley said. “Aaron is extremely happy and he just wants full justice.”
Brown’s attorney declined to comment. A state police spokesman said the charged former trooper “engaged in excessive and unjustifiable actions and failed to report the use of force to his supervisors.”
“Any instance of unjustifiable use of force jeopardizes public safety and is a danger to our communities,” Capt. Nick Manale said in an email. “These actions are inexcusable and have no place in professional public safety services.”
Brown faces up to a decade in prison on the federal charge. The former trooper was also charged in state court in Bowman’s case, as well as for the unrelated arrests of two other black drivers.
Brown’s indictment comes as the federal prosecutors are investigating other troopers who punched, stunned and dragged Ronald Greene before his death in police custody. The investigation has grown to examine whether police obstructed justice to protect the troopers involved.