MONROE, Louisiana (AP) – A former Louisiana State Police soldier pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to a federal charge in video recorded in 2019 for beating a man whose injuries included a broken jaw and limb broken ribs.
Jacob Brown is charged with “denial of rights under cover of law” for beating Aaron Bowman following a traffic stop in northern Louisiana.
Wednesday’s hearing at Monroe was held via video conference. Brown’s indictment in September came amid federal scrutiny of other soldiers who punched, knocked out and dragged another black motorist, Ronald Greene, before dying in custody.
The beatings of Greene and Bowman took place less than three weeks and 20 miles apart. Body camera videos of the incidents were kept under wraps before the Associated Press obtained and released them this year. Civil lawsuits alleging abuse by state police have been filed in the Greene and Bowman cases.
Brown was allowed to remain free pending trial, on bail set at $ 50,000. “We are very disappointed that he was not detained this morning,” Donecia Banks-Miley, lawyer for Bowman, said outside the courthouse.
“I pray we all get justice,” said a moderate Bowman as he stood with his lawyers and supporters, including Greene’s mother.
The federal inquiry into Greene’s 2019 death has expanded to include an examination of whether police obstructed justice to protect the soldiers who beat Greene after a high-speed chase.
Video and police recordings show Bowman was hit 18 times with a flashlight in 24 seconds after local MPs arrested him for a traffic violation near his home in Monroe. Brown later said Bowman punched an assistant and the beating was a “pain conformity” meant to put him in handcuffs.
Bowman, 46, denied hitting anyone and is not seen in the video as being violent with officers.
This version corrects that the quote in the 4th paragraph is from Aaron Bowman.