Monday, December 05, 2022

Three Louisiana state soldiers have been charged with beating a black man during a 2020 arrest.

Three Louisiana state soldiers were arrested this month with simple battery after violently arresting a black motorist two years ago, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

In body camera footage obtained by the Associated Press, three soldiers can be seen following motorist Antonio Harris at high speed. Harris surrendered to the authorities, but they continued to slap, punch and kneel on him several times.

The soldiers – Jacob Brown, Dakota DeMoss and George Harper – faced misdemeanor charges in the incident after local prosecutors dropped felony charges of malfeasance in office. All three men are white.

Documents obtained by HuffPost show that three ex-servicemen were charged on May 5.

Louisiana State Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday about the charges against the officers.

Brown initially pulled Harris over for a minor traffic violation on May 23, 2020, and after a criminal history check, determined that his license had been suspended and he had outstanding warrants. Harris then fled, and was pursued by state troops and eventually arrested.

An internal investigation found that the soldiers had filed false reports about the arrest, falsely claiming that Harris had started fighting with them during the incident. Brown, one of the officers, also never informed prosecutors that body camera footage of the incident existed.

In This Saturday, May 23, 2020, Image From The Franklin Parish Sheriff'S Office Body Camera Video, Law Enforcement Officers Stop Black Motorist Antonio Harris On The Side Of A Road After A High-Speed Chase In Franklin Parish, Louisiana .
In this Saturday, May 23, 2020, image from the Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Office body camera video, law enforcement officers stop black motorist Antonio Harris on the side of a road after a high-speed chase in Franklin Parish, Louisiana .

Aaron Touchet/Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Office via Associated Press, file

In text messages after the arrest, soldiers mocked Harris and said that “tomorrow will be very bad”. According to the Associated Press, Harris had pain in his ribs and was spitting blood.

Federal officials are investigating Louisiana police more widely for using racial slurs toward black officers, ignoring or hiding evidence of beatings, and side-stepping blame for officer misconduct.

A federal grand jury in Lafayette also heard testimony in Harris’ case. It is unclear whether the US Justice Department will pursue civil rights violation charges against the soldiers.

The people who arrested Harris have a history of using excessive force against civilians in the state. was brown accused in 2019 For beating a black motorist 18 times with a torch.

In February 2021, the state police arrested soldiers from the same division after they were charged with using excessive force, disabling body cameras and making false statements regarding two arrests from 2019 and 2020.

Local officials have not yet clarified how Ronald Green, a black man, died in police custody. The jawans of the same unit including Demos were involved in this incident.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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