White Louisiana State Police troopers or their commanders on multiple occasions concealed troubling footage of minority suspects being beaten during arrests over the past decade, according to a report.
An investigation by the Associated Press published Thursday identified at least 12 cases in the last 10 years in which troopers or their bosses ignored or tried to hide evidence of the beatdowns or block efforts to stamp out misconduct.
The review found that troopers habitually turned off or muted their body cameras during police chases and left out uses of force like blows to the head in official reports, while other troopers tried to justify their actions by falsely claiming that suspects were resisting or trying to escape.
“Hyper-aggressiveness is winked upon and nodded and allowed to go on,” former police chief and use-of-force expert Andrew Scott told the Associated Press.
Most of the suspects who were beaten were black, which aligns with department data indicating that 67 percent of use-of-force incidents between 2017 and 2019 involved black suspects. That figure is double the state’s percentage of black residents, the AP reported.
One video showed a former trooper, Jacob Brown, pummeling Aaron Larry Bowman with a flashlight 18 times following a May 2019 traffic stop that’s now being probed by federal authorities.
Brown, who has since resigned, is facing states charges after investigators found he “engaged in excessive and unjustifiable actions” while beating Bowman with an 8-inch aluminum flashlight, leaving him with fractures to his jaw, ribs and wrist, as well as a gash on his head.
The encounter near Bowman’s home in Monroe came less than three weeks after Louisiana State troopers punched, stunned and dragged another black man, Ronald Greene, before he later died while in police custody.
Both cases are now under review by federal prosecutors in a widening police brutality probe, the Associated Press reported.
The outlet in May obtained previously unreleased bodycam footage of Greene’s May 2019 arrest showing him begging for mercy as white troopers pulled him over for an unspecified traffic violation. Authorities initially said Greene died when he crashed into a tree, but his family claimed in a federal wrongful-death lawsuit that the troopers “brutalized” him and sent him into cardiac arrest.
“They murdered him,” Greene’s mother, Mona Hardin, said in May. “It was set out, it was planned. He didn’t have a chance. Ronnie didn’t have a chance. He wasn’t going to live to tell about it.”
Four Louisiana troopers have been charged with state crimes in connection to the videos. Federal prosecutors are also probing officers and their commanders for excessive force and potential obstruction of justice charges, the Associated Press reported.
Louisiana State Police said in a statement provided to The Post that the agency has “completely revised” its excessive force policies with numerous reform measures since Col. Lamar Davis took over the agency 11 months ago.
“No instance of excessive force is acceptable and when the department learns of such misconduct, an immediate review is launched leading to administrative and/or potential criminal investigations,” the agency said.
LSP troopers have encountered more than 5.7 million citizens during traffic stops, arrests and other instances in the past decade, resulting in 2,174 use-of-force incidents.
“The overwhelming majority of our DPS men and women represent the agency with pride as they provide professional service to our citizens,” Louisiana State Police said. “Those personnel that choose to act outside of legal requirements and departmental policies will be subject to a fair and thorough evaluation and internal review resulting in potential discipline or criminal charges.”