THE INVESTIGATORS: Video shows part of encounter that sparked lawsuit, Louisiana trooper’s arrest

Updated: Dec. 11, 2020 at 2:08 PM CST
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MONROE, La. (WAFB) - Surveillance cameras were recording as a Louisiana State Trooper allegedly used excessive force to arrest a Ouachita Parish man in May 2019.

Aaron Bowman’s lawyers say the trooper “dragged and beat him senselessly.” Part of Bowman’s 2019 arrest was captured on home surveillance video, the 9News Investigators have learned.

The video appears to show Bowman on the ground being arrested as a deputy questions another person watching the entire encounter unfold.

Court records obtained by the 9News Investigators state that during the arrest, a trooper beat Bowman using a flashlight while cursing at him.

Watch the video below:

In the three-minute video, Bowman’s girlfriend can be head screaming out to him. “Don’t be fighting with them,” she said. “I can’t. I’m bleeding,” Bowman answered back. Bowman’s girlfriend watched from her front door while one of the arresting officers allegedly beat him in their driveway at the tail end of a traffic stop from May 2019.

Louisiana State Police (LSP) Trooper Jacob Brown, 30, has also been charged with aggravated second-degree battery and malfeasance in office in connection with Bowman’s arrest.

READ NEXT: ‘Excessive, unjustifiable actions’ lead to arrest of Louisiana trooper, officials say

Court documents issued for Brown’s arrest say several officers placed their hands on Bowman’s “back, neck, and head area.”

Those same documents say it was Brown who smacked Bowman on the side of his head with a flashlight before going on to jab Bowman on his right side and arm with the end cap of the flashlight. Other officers watched this happen, records state.

As the physical struggle continued and Trooper Brown allegedly hit Bowman a total of 18 times and yelled several profanities at Bowman, the records show.

Injuries included a cut on Bowman’s scalp that required six staples to repair.

“I mean he has a gash in his head that is very graphic and very grotesque. There’s nothing that he could have done that would have warranted those injuries and it was absolutely ridiculous,” said attorney Ron Haley. “Scottie, it was like watching an MMA fight. Jacob Brown was an MMA fighter, fighting a defenseless Mr. Bowman and the other officers were just there as damn spectators.”

The records note Bowman was not aggressive toward officers and show at one point the trooper muted his body camera when being asked about the traffic stop. Bowman was not arrested at the scene and officers later searched his car but didn’t find any drugs or illegal weapons. Attorney Donecia Banks-Miley says getting the body camera video is crucial.

“That is why we’re demanding for the transparency right now. We need that body cam footage so the public can know what’s happening here, especially in Monroe Louisiana where folks think things like this don’t happen,” said Banks-Miley.

Bowman’s legal team questions why the investigation didn’t start until two months ago, after they filed a lawsuit and more than a year after the encounter.

WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked the attorney if it should take a lawsuit to get LSP to investigate their own.

“Of course not,” said Banks-Miley. “We think that the moment things happen such as police brutality, especially when you have other officers who are involved and who are there and witnessing the incident, it should happen that night. The report should be filed and it should be turned over to the proper authorities to handle the matter accordingly.” The trooper remains on administrative leave while LSP investigates. Even as the agency itself has described the encounter as “excessive and unjustifiable”, Colonel Lamar Davis vows they will get to the bottom of what happened in the following statement.

“We owe not only the public we serve but also the dedicated men and women of our department a just and timely response.”

WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked Bowman’s legal team if they believe the officer should be on leave after being arrested and after the agency described his actions as unjustifiable.

“Oh no sir. He should not be getting paid on the taxpayers’ dollar and neither should he be getting special treatment,” said Banks-Miley. “He should have been fired immediately, charges brought and it shouldn’t have taken over a year and a half to do that.”

WAFB has also filed a request for a copy of the body camera video from the encounter. A spokesman said that request will be processed, but likely denied due to the ongoing investigation.

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