Louisiana police charged with beating black driver Antonio Harris

State Attorney’s Office charged three Louisiana state police officers with beating a black driver, braiding his hair, and bragging text messages saying that he would have a “long nightmare” if he “hooked”.

The misdemeanor simple battery charge in the 2020 arrest of Antonio Harris follows the scrutiny of the state’s top law enforcement agencies for charges of excessive force (particularly against black people) and an institutional instinct to cover them up.

Louisiana Police Death Federal Investigation
Image from a Louisiana State Police body camera video on Saturday, May 23, 2020 shows an unidentified law enforcement officer putting an electric weapon on the back of black driver Antonio Harris while other officers stop him on the roadside after a high-speed chase. in the parish of la franklin

Larry Shapley / AP

Jacob Brown, Dakota DeMoss and George “Kam” Harper, white, were seen body camera video of kneeling, slaps and punches at Harris after a high-speed chase next to a cornfield in the rural Franklin Parish. Although he surrendered on his face with his arms and legs spread apart.

Lawyers for the police declined to comment on Thursday. A state police spokeswoman did not immediately comment on the allegations.

State police arrested officers on felony charges in public office in February 2021, but the district attorney decided not to bring the number when filing a claim for information with Franklin Parish last week. A simple misdemeanor offense in Louisiana carries up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine.

The state prosecutor’s office came to the Lafayette federal grand jury to hear testimony in the same case. Federal prosecutors have been investigating whether soldiers used excessive force for months, but it’s still unclear whether the Department of Justice is willing to pursue a civil rights lawsuit.

Similar uncertainties hang over the federal investigation into fatal arrests in 2019. ronald green, another black driver beaten by state police. The federal grand jury was also hearing testimony in the case. In the incident, the cavalrymen passed out and died on a country roadside in Union Parish, outside of Monroe, where Greene Greene, clenched and dragged, died. The Associated Press reported this week that the Department of Justice is increasingly skeptical that it will be able to bring a successful lawsuit against the cavalry.

Meanwhile, state lawmakers are investigating allegations of cover-up over Greene’s death and this week they have decided to defy subpoenas and blaspheme the former state police chief for refusing to turn over the handwritten diary he kept while leading the agency.

In the beating of Harris, an internal investigation found that the cavalry submitted “completely untrue” reports alleging that the man continued to flee, refused to obey orders, and fought the cavalry before Brown began to strike him in what he called a “tactical attack”. found in

“They kept saying, ‘Don’t resist,’ but I never did,” Harris told investigators. “As soon as they got to me, one of them knelt in my face. One of them was squeezing my eyes.”

In the days following the arrest, the police exchanged 14 text messages with “laughter” and “haha” mixed with them, including bragging, taunting, and beating Harris, who was vomiting blood, had a sore rib and suffered from stomach pain.

Brown wrote in one of the texts: “He will definitely be sick tomorrow.” “It warms my heart to know that we can educate that young man.”

Brown, Harper, and DeMoss, who were members of a notorious violent unit patrolling the state’s northeast, were arrested in the case last year. DeMoss and Harper were fired, and in October Brown, who pleaded not guilty in a separate federal lawsuit for beating another black driver with a flashlight 18 times, resigned.

DeMoss was also questioned for his role in Greene’s death, which authorities initially accused police of of a car crash after a chase. AP announced last year Long-held body-camera video of a trooper showing violent arrests.

The arrest of Greene and Harris Minimum of 12 The AP investigation has shown that over the past decade, cavalry or their superiors have ignored or concealed evidence of beatings, evaded accusations, and hampered efforts to eradicate misconduct. Dozens of current and former military personnel told the AP that beatings were tolerated by a culture of impunity, nepotism and, in some cases, blatant racism.

Harris’ case began when Brown stopped him for a minor traffic violation at Interstate 20. Police officers examined the criminal record and found that Harris had a suspended driver’s license and an outstanding warrant.

Starting from the Hyundai Sonata’s traffic stop, Harris led the cavalry and pursued 29 mph, reaching a speed of 150 mph, before finally stopping with the help of a punctured spike strip in the tire.

Even though Harris had already surrendered, DeMoss, the first cavalry to arrive, “kneeled” and slapped his face with a palm, turning off his body-worn camera.

Meanwhile, an internal investigation concluded that Harper struck Harris in the head several times with a fist “strengthened” with a flashlight and threatened to “punish” Harris, and that Brown pulled the man’s hair. DeMoss can be seen later in a video of him kicking Harris with his headband.

Investigators concluded that Brown never informed the state prosecutor of the existence of camera video attached to his body at the time of his arrest.


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