Jury Acquits White Trooper Who Beat Black Motorist With Flashlight

Photo: Getty Images

A Louisiana state trooper was acquitted by a federal jury on Wednesday (August 2) after video showed him repeatedly beating a Black motorist with a flashlight.

According to the Associated Press, jurors found Jacob Brown not guilty of violating the civil rights of Aaron Bownman in a 2019 beating that left the motorist with a broken jaw and ribs and injuries to his head.

Scott Wolleson, a defense attorney for Brown, who defended the beating as "pain compliance," said he was pleased with the verdict.

“The men and women of the jury recognized the risks law enforcement officers like Jacob Brown face on our behalf every day,” Wolleson said.

In 2019, Bowman was pulled over for alleged "improper lane usage" before deputies forcibly removed him from his vehicle and took him to the ground. Brown later arrived at the scene and beat Bowman 18 times with a flashlight within 24 seconds, video shows.

“I’m not resisting! I’m not resisting!” Bowman pleaded between blows.

Bowman’s attorney, Ron Haley, said Brown's acquittal highlights how "incredibly hard" it is to "prove a civil rights violation in federal court.” Haley added that the beating has "fundamentally changed" his client's life.

“He was low-hanging fruit for Jacob Brown,” Haley said.

Brown's acquittal also comes amid a sweeping civil rights investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into Louisiana state police. According to AP, Brown was involved in 23 use-of-force incidents from 2015 until his 2021 resignation. 19 of those incidents involved Black people.

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