“I’m bleeding, they hit me on the head with a flashlight,” repeated Aaron Larry Bowman, 46, a black man, as he was beaten by police in Louisiana in May 2019. The driver said received 18 hits with an aluminum flashlight for 24 seconds after being approached during a police raid.
Images of the attack, recorded by the portable camera of one of the officers, were kept secret for more than two years and did not become public until Wednesday (25), after the Associated Press news agency reported them. obtained. The scenes recall the violence suffered by George Floyd in May 2020.
Louisiana state police only began investigating the case 536 days after the attacks, according to the agency. The pressure came from a civil lawsuit brought by Bowman, who suffered multiple injuries. The driver had a broken jaw, three ribs and a broken wrist, as well as a cut to his head.
The police officer who assaulted him, Jacob Brown, 31, a white man, has a long history of violence. Since 2015, 23 episodes of abuse of force have involved his name – in 19 of them those attacked were black.
In a statement sent to the PA, state police said Brown, “involved in unjustifiable actions”, failed to report the use of force to his superiors and “deliberately misidentified” the video of the camera strapped to her uniform. He resigned.
In addition to a federal investigation, the officer faces state charges for assault and second degree misconduct. He is also the target of two other previous investigations for assaulting other black drivers. In one case, Brown bragged about assaults on a group of police officers. “It warms my heart to know that we can educate this young man,” he said.
During the May 2019 assaults, Bowman repeatedly tried to explain that he was a dialysis patient and had done nothing. “I am not fighting you, you are fighting me,” said the driver.
Even though the tapes show he did not resist police action, Bowman also faces charges including assault on a police officer, resistance and traffic violation – according to police reports, his car was stopped because he was abusing the lane. .
“I thought I was going to die that night,” the driver said in an interview with AP. “I don’t want anyone to go through this.”
Similar cases involving police cover-ups were common in Louisiana. Three weeks before the Bowman case, another black driver, Ronald Greene, was beaten up and died as a result of police action. Video of the assaults also remained secret, until it was revealed by AP in May.
The scenes of violence come at a time when there is increasing debate about police violence in the United States. The death of former black security guard George Floyd, who had his neck pinched by former Minnesota cop Derek Chauvin, has sparked massive protests over the past year and numerous proposals for legislative reforms.
The US House of Representatives even passed a bill in March that bans controversial police tactics and makes it easier to prosecute officers who violate the constitutional rights of suspects. The content must be approved by the Senate.
In a landmark response from a US court, the policeman who killed Chauvin was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison.