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[Opinion] Ex-Louisiana State Trooper Pleads Not Guilty in Black Motorist’s Brutal Beating

The Root logo The Root 10/14/2021 Okla Jones
© Photo: Jackanerd (Shutterstock)

A former Louisiana State Police trooper facing a federal charge in the 2019 beating of a Black motorist with a flashlight—which was captured on police body cameras—pleaded not guilty on Wednesday.

According to ABC News, Jacob Brown, 31, is charged with “deprivation of rights under color” in the arrest Aaron Larry Bowman following a traffic stop in North Louisiana.

Here are some specifics from the incident, per the ABC News report:

Video and police records show Bowman was struck 18 times with a flashlight in 24 seconds after local deputies pulled him over for a traffic violation near his Monroe home. Brown later said Bowman had struck a deputy, and the blows were “pain compliance” intended to get Bowman into handcuffs.

Bowman, 46, denied hitting anyone and is not seen on the video being violent with officers.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kayla McClusky set a $50,000 bond for Brown, who was allowed to remain free pending trial, the Advocate reports.

“We are very disappointed in the fact that he was not detained this morning,” Donecia Banks-Miley, a lawyer for Bowman, told ABC News.

Wednesday’s hearing was held by video conference. Bowman watched remotely with his attorney as Brown entered his not guilty plea, according to the Advocate. Judge McClusky set the next court date for Nov. 15. Brown could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 if convicted.

In September, Brown’s indictment came amid federal scrutiny of other state troopers who punched, stunned, and dragged another Black motorist, Ronald Greene—who later died in custody—KATC reports.

The Greene and Bowman incidents both took place in May 2019, less than 20 miles apart. According to ABC News, video footage of the beatings remained unreleased until the Associated Press published them earlier this year. Lawsuits were filed in both cases, claiming abuse by state police.

The ongoing investigation of Greene’s death in 2019 includes pursuing possible civil rights charges against state troopers who may have obstructed justice to protect the orders who beat Greene following a high-speed chase, ABC News reports.

According to the Advocate, Bowman, Greene’s mother, and group of supporters, were at the courthouse Wednesday.

“I’m praying that we all get justice,” Bowman said.

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