Recently released court documents showed a group of Louisiana State Troopers joked about beating a Black man in a group text, making light of police brutality. After a high-speed chase last year, troopers texted each other, saying the driver would have “nightmares for a long time,” from the “ass whoopin” he got.
Reports show troopers beat Antonio Harris despite his immediate surrender. Former trooper Jacob Brown texted his colleagues saying, “He gonna be sore tomorrow…warms my heart knowing we could educate that young man.”
Evidence from an internal investigation showed Harris laid down on the ground with his legs and arms spread out away from his body.
Brown was one of four troopers charged last month in the case. Troopers Dakota DeMoss and George Harper also chimed in with attempts at jokes about the encounter. At one point in the exchange, DeMos texted that Harris was “still digesting that ass whoopin” and “bet he don’t cross into LA anymore.”
News reports indicate Harper responded, “He gonna spread the word that’s for damn sure.”
The group exchanged 14 text messages about the incident, including “lol” and “haha.” Brown resigned last week.
He faces other charges for excessive force, including one instance in connection to a traffic stop in Ouachita Parish that led to a drug arrest. Aaron Bowman was arrested in December, but not before Brown dragged him from his car and broke his ribs in May 2019.
“Every time I got ready to speak, he would hit me with the flashlight,” Bowman said in a video provided by local news outlet KNOE. Bowman said he relives the attack each time he talks about it. “It tears me down when I talk about it,” he said. “I still have sharp pains in my head from that.”
To some, the troopers’ behavior is part of a larger pattern of police brutality within Troop F in northeast Louisiana, as evidenced by a federal civil rights investigation into the murder of Black motorist Ronald Greene. DeMoss initiated Greene’s arrest, but authorities have been silent on his involvement.
Troopers may have attempted to cover up Greene’s death. They initially told Greene’s family he died in a crash after a high-speed chase. According to the Associated Press, an attorney for Greene’s family said body cam footage told a different story.
The car was said to have minimal damage. The attorney recounted footage showing troopers using a stun gun on Greene repeatedly, dragging him across the ground face down, and choking and beating him.