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State troopers charged in use of force cases allegedly turned off body cams, lied about arrests

8 months 1 week 1 day ago Monday, February 08 2021 Feb 8, 2021 February 08, 2021 11:33 AM February 08, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

MONROE - Four troopers with Louisiana State Police are facing criminal charges after an investigation into multiple use of force of encounters in north Louisiana.

Sources said LSP Superintendent Lamar Davis made the decision Monday to arrest the four members of State Police's Troop F. The troopers arrested were identified as 28-year-old Dakota DeMoss, 26-year-old George Harper, 34-year-old Randall Dickerson, and 30-year-old Jacob Brown. All four were taken into custody Monday afternoon and have since bonded out of jail.

Brown and Dickerson are charged in a 2019 traffic stop in Ouachita Parish during which the two handcuffed a driver in possession of suspected drugs and used "excessive and unjustifiable force," according to the agency. Both troopers allegedly deactivated their body cameras and gave "untruthful" statements about the driver resisting police. Both are charged with simple battery and malfeasance in office.

The other incident happened May 2020 after a pursuit in Franklin Parish and involved troopers Brown, DeMoss and Harper. LSP said the driver got out of the vehicle and laid on the ground after police popped the vehicle's tires. However, the agency said the troopers turned off their body cameras and used excessive force when handcuffing the suspect. Brown is also accused of falsifying the use of force and arrest reports. The three troopers involved in that incident face simple battery and malfeasance charges, with Brown facing an additional charge of obstruction of justice. 

Brown was also charged last year in a yet another use of force incident that happened in the Monroe area in 2019. Attorneys representing Aaron Bowman said Brown dragged Bowman to the ground and struck him more than a dozen times.  

Brown's arrest record suggested he deliberately mislabeled video from that arrest as a "citizen encounter," even though he considered it a use of force encounter, in an effort to hide it from his superiors.

Troop F's jurisdiction is also where Ronald Greene died following a run-in with state troopers back in 2019. Leaked body camera audio from the incident captured one of the troopers saying he "beat the ever living f***" out of Greene and choked him after a vehicle pursuit in Monroe. 

Greene's family said at the time they were initially told by State Police his death resulted from injuries he sustained in a wreck at the end of the chase. Photos obtained by WBRZ showed the vehicle seemingly sustained little damage in the crash.

The Investigative Unit reported on that violent encounter last year after the trooper heard in that recording, Chris Hollingsworth, was put on leave more than a year after the incident. Hollingsworth was issued termination papers weeks after that and then died in a single-vehicle crash, which many have called a suicide. 

All of those incidents happened during the tenure of former Louisiana State Police Superintendent Kevin Reeves, who retired last year in the wake of several controversies at LSP.

All four troopers arrested Monday were placed on leave pending the results of criminal and administrative investigations.

Read the full statement from Louisiana State Police below. 

This afternoon, LSP Investigators filed charges on four Troop F Troopers following an extensive and detailed review of use of force encounters in the Monroe area. The charges stem from an incident in July of 2019 and May of 2020 in which the Troopers’ actions rose to the level of Simple Battery and Malfeasance in Office. The Troopers, identified as 28-year-old Dakota DeMoss, 26-year-old George Harper, 34-year-old Randall Dickerson, and 30-year-old Jacob Brown, all remain on administrative leave with all law enforcement property recovered pending the conclusion of the criminal and administrative investigations.

The first incident took place in July of 2019 during a traffic stop on Interstate 20 in Ouachita Parish. During the course of the traffic stop, Troopers discovered suspected narcotics in the vehicle and placed the driver into custody. After effecting the arrest, Troopers Brown and Dickerson utilized excessive and unjustifiable force on the handcuffed driver, deactivated body worn cameras, and reported untruthful statements regarding the alleged resistance by the suspect. The incident resulted in charges of Simple Battery and Malfeasance in Office for both Troopers.

The second incident occurred in May of 2020 following a vehicle pursuit in Franklin Parish. After the successful deployment of a tire deflation device, the driver exited the vehicle and immediately laid on the ground in a compliant position. Upon contact with the driver, Troopers DeMoss, Harper, and Brown utilized excessive and unjustifiable force during the handcuffing process and deactivated body worn cameras. Brown additionally falsified the Use of Force Report and Arrest Report and failed to indicate and provide video evidence. The incident resulted in charges of Simple Battery and Malfeasance in Office for all three Troopers with an additional charge of Obstruction of Justice for Brown.

LSP Detectives obtained arrest warrants for the four Troopers and placed them into custody without incident this afternoon.

“The unjustifiable use of force by our personnel is inexcusable and tarnishes the exemplary work of our dedicated men and women of the Department of Public Safety,” stated Colonel Lamar Davis, Louisiana State Police Superintendent. “I commend our investigative team for their diligence and professionalism during this investigation. Our agency remains committed to upholding the public trust and providing professional, fair, and compassionate public safety services.”

No further information is available at this time pending the ongoing criminal and administrative investigations.

As of Tuesday (Feb. 9) morning, all four troopers have bonded out of jail. 

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