A former Louisiana police officer has been charged with civil rights violation after hitting a black motorist 18 times with a torch during a traffic stop.
This is the first criminal case to emerge from federal investigations into the beating of at least three black men.
In agonizing body camera footage, kept secret for over two years, Aaron Larry Bowman can be heard shouting “I can’t resist” between blows to the head.
A grand jury indicted Jacob Brown on Thursday for the 2019 beating, which left Mr Bowman with a broken jaw, broken ribs and a cut to his head that required the closure of six staples.
Brown has been charged with one count of deprivation of rights under cover of law, federal prosecutors have said.
Bowman’s attorney, Donecia Banks-Miley, called the indictment a “sigh of relief.”
“We are just trying to keep hope and trust the justice process,” she told The Associated Press. “Aaron is extremely happy, and he just wants full justice.”
Brown’s attorney Scott Wolleson declined to comment.
Louisiana State Police records show Brown has used force 23 times since 2015 – including 19 times against blacks.
He faces charges in two other cases of violent arrests of black motorists.
The 2019 incident, which took place near Mr Bowman’s home in Monroe, occurred less than three weeks after soldiers of the same force hit, knocked out and dragged another black motorist, Ronald greene.
Mr. Greene died in custody alongside a rural road in northeast Louisiana.
Body camera footage of the two beatings has been withheld for years, with Brown mislabeling his own in an “intentional attempt to hide the video,” investigators said.
State Police did not investigate the attack until 536 days later, after Mr Bowman filed a complaint.
“The department has previously acknowledged that it was conducting open and ongoing criminal investigations into incidents involving Louisiana State Police that resulted in death or personal injury to those arrested,” the Department of Justice said. Justice in a press release.
“These investigations remain ongoing.”
Video and police recordings show Brown beat Mr Bowman with a torch 18 times in 24 seconds after MPs arrested him for “improper use of lanes.”
Brown attempted to claim the beating was a “pain conformity” meant to handcuff Mr Bowman, 46, amid allegations he hit an assistant.
However, Mr Bowman has denied hitting anyone and is not seen in the video as being violent with officers.
He still faces a list of charges, including bodily harm to a police officer, resistance to a police officer and the traffic violation for which he was originally arrested.
Follow the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker.
Louisiana State Police tally shows that in recent years, 67% of its uses of force were against blacks.
State Police Chief Col. Lamar Davis said earlier this month he would welcome such an investigation if the department deemed it necessary, but added that he was working to correct the problems of the department.