Three Louisiana state troopers were arrested and charged this month with simple battery after violently arresting a Black motorist two years ago, The Associated Press reported Thursday.
In body camera footage obtained by the AP, the three troopers can be seen on top of Antonio Harris, the motorist, following a high-speed chase. Harris had surrendered to the officers, but they continued to slap, punch and knee him multiple times.
The troopers — Jacob Brown, Dakota DeMoss and George Harper — face misdemeanor charges in the incident after local prosecutors dropped felony charges of malfeasance in office. All three men are white.
Documents obtained by HuffPost show the three former troopers were charged on May 5.
Louisiana State Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the charges against the officers on Thursday.
Brown initially pulled Harris over for a minor traffic violation on May 23, 2020, and after a criminal history check, determined that his license was suspended and that he had outstanding warrants. Harris then sped away, and state troopers pursued and eventually arrested him.
An internal investigation found that the troopers had filed false reports about the arrest, falsely claiming that Harris had begun fighting with them during the incident. Brown, one of the officers, also never informed prosecutors that body camera footage of the incident existed.
In text messages after the arrest, the troopers mocked Harris and said was going to be “sore tomorrow.” Harris had sore ribs and spit up blood, according to the AP.
Federal authorities are investigating Louisiana police more broadly for using racial slurs toward Black officers, ignoring or concealing evidence of beatings, and side-stepping blame for officer misconduct.
A federal grand jury in Lafayette also heard testimony in Harris’ case. It is unclear if the U.S. Department of Justice will pursue charges of civil rights violations against the troopers.
The men who arrested Harris had a history of using excessive force against civilians in the state. Brown was indicted in 2019 for beating a Black motorist 18 times with a flashlight.
In February 2021, state police arrested troopers from the same division after they were accused of using excessive force, deactivating body cameras and making false statements about two arrests from 2019 and 2020.
Local authorities have still not explained how Ronald Greene, a Black man, died in police custody. The incident involved troopers from the same unit, including DeMoss.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.