Prosecutors in Louisiana have charged three former state troopers with misdemeanor simple battery; in connection with the brutal beating of Antonio Harris, a Black motorist, in 2020.
Former troopers Jacob Brown, Dakota DeMoss, and George “Kam ” Harper, all white; are seen on bodycam footage assaulting Antonio Harris with excessive force; tasing him while he’s down and being wrangled by all men; and pulling him to his feet by his braids. After a high-speed chase that ended in a cornfield in rural Franklin Parish.
A state investigation revealed the ex-troopers boasted about the “whoopin” through text; finding 14 exchanges with “lol” and “haha” responses and claims the beat down would give Harris; “nightmares for a long time.”
While the men’s attorneys declined to comment; Lt. Melissa Matey of the state police said the troopers’ actions were; “inexcusable and have no place in professional public safety services.”
According to the Associated Press, the former troopers were arrested in February 2021 on felony malfeasance charges. But prosecutors refused to include those charges in a bill of information filed in Franklin Parish. In Louisiana, misdemeanor simple battery carries a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.
How It Happened
“They kept saying ‘Stop resisting’ but I was never resisting,” Antonio Harris explained to authorities. “As soon as they got to me; one of them kneed me in my face. One of them was squeezing my eyes.”
An internal investigation revealed that the troopers’ accounts of the arrest were “wholly untrue.” They claimed Harris tried to flee and refused to comply with their demands. According to the report, Jacob Brown stated that as a result of this, they began to beat him with “tactical strikes.”
DeMoss, the first officer on the scene, slapped a surrendered Harris with a “knee strike” and an open-palm slap; before turning off his body cam. Harper then repeatedly punched him in the head with a flashlight- “reinforced” fist while Brown pulled his hair. According to court records, DeMoss is then seen dragging Harris up to his feet by his hair.
“He’s gonna be sore tomorrow for sure,” Brown texted. “Warms my heart knowing we could educate that young man.”
Following months of investigation and testimony; it is unclear whether the Department of Justice will file a civil rights case based on excessive force.