According to an Associated Press investigation, videos of Louisiana state troopers abusing Black males have been buried and disguised by superiors for years, revealing a pattern of brutality.
There have been a dozen examples in the last decade in which Louisiana State Police troopers or their supervisors ignored or suppressed evidence of beatings or delayed efforts to ferret out misbehavior.
The investigation comes as state police in Louisiana are under fire for violent encounters between white officers and African-Americans.
Ronald Greene, a 49-year-old Black motorist, was killed in a traffic check in 2019.
Despite little damage to his vehicle, police first told Greene’s family that he died as a consequence of a crash at the end of the chase. Authorities then admitted there had been a struggle. Finally, in May of 2021, the Associated Press revealed body camera footage showing Greene being dragged, tased, and pummeled as he begged for mercy before his death.
Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth died in an automobile accident just hours after learning he would be fired as a result of an internal inquiry into Greene’s death. On-body camera footage, Hollingsworth boasted that he “beat the ever-living f–k” out of Greene.
Trooper Kory York was suspended without pay for 50 hours after being observed dragging Greene but has now returned to duty pending the conclusion of a federal inquiry.
Lt. John Clary was cleared of all charges last week after being accused of concealing footage of the encounter that was curiously missing from an investigative file provided to prosecutors.
Louisiana troopers hit 46-year-old Aaron Larry Bowman in the head and torso 18 times with a flashlight, according to a video released in August of another May 2019 traffic encounter. Three weeks after Greene’s death, the incident occurred.
Following a traffic violation, troopers forcibly took Bowman from his vehicle and beat him with an 8-inch metal flashlight by trooper Jacob Brown, who later justified his conduct as “pain compliance.”
After watching the film of the meeting, Bowman told The Associated Press, “I kept thinking I was going to die that night.” I broke down all over again just by viewing it.”
The tape was disclosed after 546 days and a lawsuit brought by Bowman in October 2020. Following an investigation by the LSP Bureau of Investigations, Brown was arrested in December on one count of aggravated violence and one count of misconduct in office.
A trooper was caught on dash camera film snatching DeShawn Washington, a 20-year-old marijuana suspect, by the hair and banging his head onto the hood of a police car. The stop took place in 2019, a few months before the Greene and Bowman accidents.
Attorneys for victims said in June that federal prosecutors are investigating a suspected pattern of racial abuse by state police.
Prosecutors informed attorney Lee Merritt that the original investigation of Ronald Greene grew into a bigger probe of the entire agency: policies, practices, procedures, incidents, and leadership. “It’s a broad-based investigation.”
The majority of persons who were beaten in cases investigated by the Associated Press were Black. According to the agency’s calculations, Black persons are involved in 67 percent of the use of force occurrences, which is more than double the state’s Black population.
According to the Associated Press, a secret panel charged with investigating whether officers habitually target Black motorists for maltreatment was shut down in June.
Andrew Scott, a use-of-force specialist who studied the tapes, said, “Hyper-aggression is smiled at, nodded at, and permitted to continue.” “It is very evident that the agency condones such conduct.”
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