Louisiana state troopers charged in beating of Black man
WINNSBORO, La. (AP) — State prosecutors have charged three former Louisiana State Police troopers accused of beating a Black motorist, hoisting him to his feet by his hair braids and bragging in text messages that the “whoopin” would give him “nightmares for a long time.”
The misdemeanor simple battery charges in the 2020 arrest of Antonio Harris come amid mounting scrutiny of the state’s premier law enforcement agency over allegations of excessive force — particularly against Black people — and an institutional instinct to cover it up.
Former state troopers Jacob Brown, Dakota DeMoss and George “Kam” Harper, who are white, were seen on body-camera video piling onto Harris following a high-speed chase that ended next to a cornfield in rural Franklin Parish, kneeing, slapping and punching him even though he had surrendered face down with his arms and legs splayed.
Troopers’ defense attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.
State police had arrested the troopers in February 2021 on felony charges of malfeasance in office, but local prosecutors elected not to bring that count last week when filing a bill of information in Franklin Parish. Misdemeanor simple battery carries up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine in Louisiana.
The state prosecution comes as a federal grand jury in Lafayette has been hearing testimony in the same case. Federal prosecutors for months have been investigating whether the troopers used excessive force, but it remains unclear whether the U.S. Justice Department intends to move forward with a civil rights case.
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