Former state trooper Jacob Brown arraigned on civil rights violation
MONROE, La. (KNOE) - A former Louisiana State Police trooper accused of violating a man’s civil rights during a May 2019 arrest was arraigned in federal court on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. Jacob Brown pleaded not guilty to a charge of deprivation of rights under color of law, according to attorneys for the victim, Aaron Bowman, of Monroe.
Bowman and family members of the late Ronald Greene were joined by their attorneys on the steps of the courthouse in Monroe after Brown’s arraignment. Timothy Williams was also in attendance. He’s filed a similar lawsuit against the Monroe Police Department. Attorneys expressed disappointment that Brown has not been detained despite his suspected involvement in multiple similar cases in northeast Louisiana. In addition to the federal indictment, those cases have led to Brown being arrested multiple times on several criminal charges.
When Bowman stepped up to the mic, he thanked the public for giving him a chance to speak and said, “I’m praying that we all get justice,” before pausing and shaking his head in disbelief. He then stepped away from the mic and would not speak again until the end of the press conference. Bowman would later say that he was “hurt” that Brown was allowed to go free.
Ronald Greene’s sister and mother were also on hand. Greene died in 2019 after a violent encounter with multiple law enforcement agencies in northeast Louisiana. Greene’s sister called on Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards to take action against officers shown beating her brother on video recently released by the Associated Press.
“A year ago we met with you. You said you didn’t see the footage of Ronald Greene. Now that you have seen the video, what are you going to do about it? Your men are still working. They are still patrolling the streets. So I challenge you and your team to do what’s right and prosecute your men. The proof is on the video,” she said.
“Do your job. And if you don’t want to do your job, retire!”
Brown was indicted on Sept. 23 by a federal grand jury for his alleged part in Bowman’s arrest on South 3rd Street in Monroe. Body camera footage showed Brown striking Bowman 18 times in the head with a flashlight in approximately 24 seconds. Bowman could be heard screaming between blows on the body camera video obtained by The Associated Press. The beating left Bowman with a broken jaw, three broken ribs, a broken wrist and a gash to his head that required six staples to close.
Brown was arrested in connection with the Bowman incident in December of last year, 19 months after it happened. The arrest came after a lawsuit was filed naming multiple area law enforcement agencies. He was charged with aggravated second-degree battery and malfeasance in office. Later, Brown was arrested with three other state troopers from the Monroe area’s Troop F in February 2021. The other troopers were identified as Randall Dickerson, Dakota DeMoss, and George Harper. In May 2020, investigators say Brown, DeMoss, and Harper approached a suspect in a compliant position and used “excessive and unjustifiable force during the handcuffing process.” At the time, investigators said body cameras were also deactivated and Brown “falsified the Use of Force Report and Arrest Report and failed to indicate and provide video evidence.”
Brown and Dickerson were booked on simple battery and malfeasance in office charges for a July 2019 incident. Brown was also booked on obstruction of justice, simple Battery, and malfeasance in office for the May 2020 incident. If convicted of the civil rights charge, Brown could face a maximum of ten years in prison.
Attorneys Lee Merritt and Donecia Banks-Miley say they will not quit until they get justice and LSP undergoes more reform saying, “Jacob Brown is a repeat offender” and they “do not feel that justice was served this morning” be allowing Brown to go free despite his multiple arrests. They also criticized the lack of action with regard to officers who they believe are culpable, yet have not been arrested.
“Many of these officers are still patrolling, still working, as if nothing happened,” attorneys said, calling the issue “a stain on the state of Louisiana.”
“In my opinion, the LSP needs to be dismantled,” Merritt said. “They’re a criminal enterprise that needs to be fully investigated and replaced. Anything short of that is just words and we’re tired of words.”
Watch the full press conference here:
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