Louisiana State Trooper indicted in ongoing federal probe of agency's interactions with African Americans
SHREVEPORT – A federal grand jury in northern Louisiana indicted a disgraced Louisiana State Trooper in yet another blow to the agency facing harsh criticism over its handling of troopers’ violent interactions with minorities, specifically African Americans.
WBRZ reporter Chris Nakamoto and the WBRZ Investigative Unit have reported on issues throughout the year, including breaking numerous stories related to the death of Ronald Greene in the Monroe area.
Thursday, Jacob Brown was indicted for excessive force against Aaron Bowman. WBRZ has previously reported Bowman was hit numerous times with some sort of object during a traffic stop in May 2019.
Brown is the son of the former second-in-command at State Police, Bob Brown.
WBRZ exclusively reported in February, when the younger Brown was in the State Police academy, trainers thought he was not fit for duty. Brown, it’s believed, was allowed to skate through the academy because of his family connections.
Chris Nakamoto reported in February, Jacob Brown was recommended for termination for lying during the troopers’ academy.
The grand jury indictment Thursday is related to Brown’s interaction with Bowman.
Brown is charged with violating a federal civil rights code: Deprivation of rights under color of law.
The grand jury said Brown assaulted Bowman by “repeatedly striking him in the head and body with a dangerous weapon.” The “weapon,” the grand jury said, was a modified flashlight with a blunt end.
Brown resigned from State Police in March after first begging to stay on the payroll.
If convicted, Brown faces ten years in prison and a fine.
Federal agents also added pointedly – it is not done with State Police. There are federal criminal investigations into incidents involving troopers where people being arrested were severely injured or ended up dying.
In August, video surfaced of the incident between Brown and Bowman – watch it here (discretion advised).
Brown is also charged in other excessive force incidents.
Brown’s father, Bob Brown, retired after former State Police Col. Kevin Reeves abruptly retired amid backlash over the agency’s handling of Bowman’s case and others, including Ronald Green’s death. WBRZ reported at the time, the elder Brown had also been disciplined before for misconduct. In one instance, Bob Brown used a racial term in a conversation about a person’s intelligence: "I don't understand how those 'n******' could pass this test. They're not smarter than us," State Police disciplinary documents noted Bob Brown said in April 2000.
Bob Brown also “admitted that [he] hung a Confederate flag in [his] office behind the door."
Jacob Brown, the younger son who was indicted Thursday, reportedly joked about beating someone in an excessive force incident.
“He gonna be sore tomorrow for sure,” Brown messaged someone.
State Police has attempted to keep the lid on incidents over the years only to have WBRZ and Nakamoto sources leak documents exposing issues within the agency. It’s also irritated troopers’ attorneys, including one hired by the Brown family.
"Mr. Brown was arrested [in March], and before we reached the jail WBRZ was already reporting the arrest," attorney Scott Wolleson said. "Christopher Hollingsworth was suspended and received notice he was going to be terminated. I was involved in that. As we know there were 17 seconds of audio released to WBRZ that has now been quoted in national news around the country."
Jacob Brown was assigned to Monroe’s Troop F, which is under specific investigation for racial discrimination.
More WBRZ and Chris Nakamoto reporting:
Nakamoto: Racist behavior under investigation at State Police; internal documents show it dates back decades
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