Trooper who struck Black man 18 times with flashlight resigns three months after arrest

Jacob Brown was on unpaid leave since his December arrest

By: - March 12, 2021 5:50 pm

A Louisiana State Police trooper charged in multiple police brutality incidents resigned from his job with the agency on Wednesday, three months after his arrest for striking a Black man 18 times with a reinforced tactical flashlight and then, according to the arrest warrant, covering it up by falsifying reports.

Jacob Brown who was previously assigned to Troop F in Monroe, submitted his resignation effective Wednesday, according to state police spokesman Taylor Scrantz. The 30-year-old Brown had been on unpaid administrative leave since his Dec. 10 arrest by the agency’s internal affairs investigators and Ouachita Parish sheriff’s deputies. Brown, who is White, faces charges of aggravated second degree battery and malfeasance in office and is out of jail on bonds totaling $35,000.

His arrest came after the victim, 46-year-old Aaron L. Bowman, filed a lawsuit alleging excessive force during an incident on May 30, 2019. The lawsuit triggered an internal administrative review, which led to additional evidence, which then triggered a criminal investigation into the trooper’s actions. 

“He is relieved in one sense that this trooper isn’t on the streets and able to do these things to other people,” Bowman’s attorney, Ronald Haley, said. “However, at the same time, there is also frustration and anger that it has taken this long for any semblance of accountability to take place in this case.”

During their review, state police investigators found video footage of Brown striking a prone Bowman — at least 18 times within 24 seconds — with a tactical flashlight reinforced with a metal “tail cap” used for breaking vehicle windows. Brown arrived on the scene as three Ouachita Parish deputies had stopped Bowman for a traffic violation and had him pinned to the ground in the process of handcuffing him.

According to the warrant, the trooper ran toward the struggle and began striking Bowman in the head while Bowman’s arms and hands were fully stretched out on the ground in front of him. Bowman then placed his hands on top of his head to protect himself from additional strikes, at which point Brown hit him several more times in the same spot before delivering multiple blows to his shoulder and ribs with the reinforced end cap of the flashlight, according to the warrant. 

Brown is reportedly heard on video yelling, “Stop resisting,” to which Bowman reportedly responded, “I’m not resisting,” the warrant states.

“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,” the warrant states.

Brown was the only officer that struck Bowman during handcuffing. The other deputies used basic hand controls and verbal commands to control him. “Investigators also noticed that Bowman’s hands were visible, on the ground in front of him, when Brown struck him in the head for the first time,” the warrant states. “Additionally it appeared that Bowman only moved his arms to protect his body in response to Brown’s repeated blows.”

Bowman suffered a fractured wrist, fractured rib, multiple hematoma, contusions and lacerations, including a laceration to his head that required six staples. 

The internal affairs detectives reported that Brown admitted he failed to document the incident in any reports even though he considered it a use of force incident, which always requires documentation. Brown also misclassified and failed to label his body camera footage, thereby circumventing review by his supervisors and allowing the footage to be automatically deleted after one year.

“Brown did not report or document the use of force incident, he mis-categorized the BWC (body-worn camera) video, and he did not label the recording,” the warrant states. “Those actions show an intentional attempt to hide the video from any administrative review or criminal investigation.”

Haley, Bowman’s attorney, said he plans to formally request a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the “misgivings and wrongdoings” in the state police’s Troop F, which has been him to other recent brutality incidents — two of which involved the same trooper Brown. Haley also represents the family of Ronald Greene, the deceased victim in an alleged brutality incident and subsequent coverup by state police.

“We want that investigation to extend into LSP headquarters in Baton Rouge,” Haley said. “How is this swept under the rug for two years? And why has the body camera footage still not been released to the public?”

Haley said any excessive force incidents previously investigated under the command of former Superintendent Col. Kevin Reeves should be reopen and reinvestigated under current Superintendent Col. Lamar Davis.

“Attorney General (Merrick) Garland said civil rights investigations are going to be his priority, and we plan to hold him to his word,” Haley said.

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Wesley Muller
Wesley Muller

Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the following 22 years since then, he has worked as a journalist for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. Much of his work has involved reporting on First Amendment issues and watchdog coverage of municipal and state government. He has received several honors and recognitions, including McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association, among others. Muller is a New Orleans native, a Jesuit High School alumnus, a University of New Orleans alumnus, a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper, and an adjunct English teacher at Baton Rouge Community College. He lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, with his teenage son and his wife, who is also a journalist.

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