MONROE, La. – Body camera video showing a Louisiana State Trooper hitting a Black man more than 18 times with a flashlight has surfaced after being kept secret for more than two years.
The beating left 45-year-old Aaron Larry Bowman with a broken jaw, three broken ribs, a broken wrist and a gash to his head that required six staples to close.
According to the warrant, on May 30, 2019 Deputy Donovan Ginn initiated a traffic stop with lights and sirens but the vehicle he was following did not immediately pull over, instead it increased speed before stopping at a residential address.
The warrant alleges Bowman refused to exit the vehicle and saying he did not do anything wrong. He then left the vehicle after an additional request.
“Deputy then attempted to secure him (in) handcuffs at which time he pulled away in a violent manner in an attempt to evade arrest,” the warrant states. “Aaron then attempted (to) climb back into his vehicle and over to the passenger side at which time Deputy removed him (from) the vehicle and a brief struggle ensued. Aaron then began swinging his arms at me and screaming he did not do anything wrong. Aaron then struck me on the top of the head with a closed fist.”
Bowman denied hitting anyone and is not seen on the video being violent with officers. According to the warrant, Bowman said he didn’t immediately pull over because he was scared and wanted to park his vehicle at home should he go to jail.
In the body-cam footage, former Louisiana State trooper Jacob Brown can be seen pummeling Bowman with his flashlight as the man screams “I’m not resisting! I’m not resisting!”
Brown arrived at the scene after deputies had forcibly removed Bowman from his vehicle and taken him to the ground. The trooper later told investigators he “was in the area and was trying to get involved.”
According to detective’s investigative report, Brown jumped out of his vehicle and began bashing Bowman on his head and body within two seconds of “initial contact” – striking Bowman with his 8-inch aluminum flashlight 18 times in 24 seconds.
Brown did not report his use of force during the arrest and mislabeled his footage as a “citizen encounter” in what investigators called “an intentional attempt to hide the video from any administrative review.”
Bowman’s defense attorney, Keith Whiddon, said he was initially told there was no body-camera video.
Brown was arrested in December 2020 and charged with one count of aggravated battery and one count of malfeasance in office following an investigation by the LSP Bureau of Investigations.
Before resigning in March, Brown tallied 23 use-of-force incidents dating back to 2015. According to state records, 19 of the 23 incidents targeted Black people.
In addition to charges of second-degree battery and malfeasance in Bowman’s beating, Brown also faces charges in two other violent arrests of Black motorists, including one he boasted about last year in a group chat with other troopers, saying the suspect is “gonna be sore” and “it warms my heart knowing we could educate that young man.”
The beating of Bowman came less than three weeks after troopers from the same agency punched, stunned and dragged Ronald Greene. Greene died in police custody on the side of a rural road in northeast Louisiana.
Like Bowman’s body-cam footage, video of Greene’s death remained under wraps until the Associated Press obtained and published it earlier this year.
Police didn’t investigate the attack on Bowman until over a half a year after it occurred even though it was captured on body camera. Their investigation began a few weeks after Bowman brought a civil lawsuit against them.
Bowman still faces a list of charges, including battery of a police officer, resisting an officer and the traffic violation for which he was initially stopped, improper lane usage.
Upon seeing the body-cam footage for the first time, Bowman broke into tears.
“I kept thinking I was going to die that night,” Bowman told the AP through tears in a recent interview. “It was like reliving it all over again. By watching it, I broke down all over again.”
“I don’t want nobody to go through that.”