State troopers bragged about the ‘whoopin’ they gave a Black man: ‘He’s gonna be sore tomorrow’

Antonio Harris had reportedly surrendered after a car chase, lying on the ground with his arms outstretched

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
@GustafKilander
Sunday 14 March 2021 19:05
comments
A State Trooper vehicle drives down Bourbon Street in the French Quarter on March 15, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
A State Trooper vehicle drives down Bourbon Street in the French Quarter on March 15, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

State troopers in Louisiana bragged about the "whoopin" they gave a Black man in newly unveiled text messages, revealing statements like "He's gonna be sore tomorrow".

Court filings show the 14 messages were sent after police stopped Antonio Harris, 29, following a high-speed chase.

The filings allege that in May state trooper Jacob Brown said in a group chat with fellow officers that “he gonna be sore tomorrow for sure".

The court documents also show that trooper Dakota DeMoss said that “he’s gonna have nightmares for a long time,” after the beating in Franklin Parish in the northeastern part of Louisiana, close to the border with Mississippi.

Mr Brown replied to Mr DeMoss, saying: “Warms my heart knowing we could educate that young man."

The filings were first brought to light by Sound Off Louisiana and later reported on by The Washington Post.

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The court documents come weeks after four white officers, Mr Brown, Mr DeMoss, George Harper and Randall Dickerson, were arrested following allegations of excessive force, as reported by WBRZ. The allegations also include lying about several arrests and turning off their bodycams.

Mr Brown, 30, resigned on Wednesday, according to KNOE. He faces charges in two other cases of excessive force, the Associated Press reported.

Mr DeMoss, 28, and the 26-year-old Mr Harper were placed on administrative leave after an internal investigation showed that Mr Harris was beaten even though he “immediately surrendered".

Mr Dickerson, 34, faces charges from another case from 2019 in which he reportedly hit a Black man, whom he had pulled over five times, “towards his head and administering a knee strike to his body,” court records say according to KSLA.

The four officers were released on bond in February, WBRZ reported.

Louisiana State Police Captain Nick Manale told The Washington Post that the department would not comment “due to the ongoing investigations and litigation".

According to court records, Mr Brown stopped Mr Harris on 23 May at around 5.30pm for drifting between lanes and found that his licence was suspended. The officer told authorities that Mr Harris had several warrants for firearm violations. Authorities said that when Mr Brown asked for backup, Mr Harris fled in his car. The following 29-mile chase lasted 14 minutes and at times reached speeds of 150 mph.

Court records say that Mr Harris only pulled over once police used a “tire deflation device”. He surrendered as soon as he got out of the car, laying "face down on the ground and extended his arms away from his body and his legs spread apart," investigators concluded.

Records report that Mr DeMoss “delivered a knee strike” and slapped Mr Harris in the face before turning off his bodycam. Mr Harper punched Mr Harris in the head several times using a closed fist “reinforced” by a flashlight and angled his bodycam facedown. Mr Brown allegedly turned off the audio on his camera and knelt near the head of Mr Harris and started pulling on his hair.

Mr Harper reportedly told Mr Harris “I am going to punish you,” in a rant that according to court records included many expletives.

Mr Harris was arrested on several charges, including driving under suspicion and resisting an officer. Court filings say the reports from the officers were “wholly untrue” and that they claimed that Mr Harris was resisting arrest and continuing to flee. “At no time did Harris resist arrest,” the internal investigation found.

Officers boasted about the arrest in the following group chat discussion. Mr Brown asked about Mr Harris's attitude in jail, with Mr Harper responding “complete silence,” court records say.

Mr DeMoss said Mr Harris was “still digesting that ‘a**whoopin'".

Mr Brown texted: “BET he won’t run from a full grown bear again."

Mr DeMosss replied: “Bet he don’t even cross into LA anymore.”

“He gonna spread the word,” Mr Harper added.

The Superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, Colonel Lamar Davis, said in a February statement: “The unjustifiable use of force by our personnel is inexcusable and tarnishes the exemplary work of our dedicated men and women of the Department of Public Safety. Our agency remains committed to upholding the public trust and providing professional, fair, and compassionate public safety services.”

The Independent has reached out to the attorney for the officers for comment.

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