Two state troopers will remain on payroll despite excessive force arrests
BATON ROUGE - The board that oversees happenings at Louisiana State Police will allow two troopers facing criminal charges to continue collecting pay until their paid time off runs out, despite a request to place them on unpaid leave from the agency's leaders.
During a meeting in Baton Rouge Thursday, an attorney representing Louisiana State Police asked the LSP Commission to suspend troopers Dakota DeMoss and George Harper without pay when their paid leave expires April 12. Both have been on leave since their arrests in February related to a 2020 use of force complaint involving both troopers.
Belinda Brown, the head of a human rights organization, addressed the commissioners during Thursday's meeting.
"As taxpaying citizens, we are not going to give them paid vacation when they have got it wrong," Brown said.
A legal representative for DeMoss and Harper asked that the commission instead allow the troopers to use their accumulated leave. The commission granted that request unanimously, allowing the troopers to continue getting paid until they burn through all of their paid leave.
"It would be consistent with previous practices that once the 400 hours of paid leave is exhausted, to use their accumulated leave time," their lawyer, Michael Dubos said. "They have not been found guilty of any wrongdoing nor have they been convicted and enjoy presumptions of innocence."
DeMoss and Harper are facing charges related to a May 2020 pursuit in Franklin Parish, after which the driver got out of his vehicle and laid on the ground. State Police said the troopers then turned off their body cameras and used excessive force when taking the suspect into custody.
Two other troopers, Randall Dickerson and Jacob Brown, were arrested around the same time as Harper and DeMoss over similar allegations. Brown was involved in multiple of force complaints, including the arrest that landed Harper and DeMoss in jail. Brown and Dickerson have both resigned.
All of the troopers involved worked for Troop F in the Monroe area. That's where Ronald Greene was beaten to death by Trooper Chris Hollingsworth in May of 2019. Hollingsworth died in what our sources said was a suicide hours after he was served termination papers.
Leaked audio surfaced at the time showing how Hollingsworth killed Greene.
"I beat the ever living f*** out of him," Hollingsworth said. "Choked him and everything else to get him under control. We finally got him in handcuffs when a third man got there. The son of b**** was still fighting and still wrestling with him trying to hold him down. He was spitting blood everywhere and all of a sudden he went limp."