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Louisiana State Police headquarters, Tuesday, October 15, 2019, in Baton Rouge, La.

Amid a widening misconduct investigation involving several Louisiana state troopers assigned to patrol the Monroe area, internal investigators reviewed text messages that showed three officers joking about giving a suspect an "ass whoopin" he would remember for a long time, police reports show. 

The three troopers were arrested last month and accused of using excessive force during the May 2020 incident, which occurred after the suspect led law enforcement on a police chase spanning 29 miles and exceeding 150 mph. Their arrests came amid a series of scandals at Troop F, including the death of a Black man in State Police custody that prompted a federal civil rights probe.

Four State Police troopers arrested, identified after 'use of force encounters' at Troop F in Monroe

In a group text message soon after the chase, the troopers discussed how the man behaved while being booked into jail, according to an arrest warrant obtained by The Advocate. The warrant includes the following excerpt from the text conversation, which is peppered with abbreviations for "laughing my ass off" and "laugh out loud."

"LOL he was still digesting that ass whoopin," said Dakota DeMoss, who later suggested the man would "have nightmares for a long time."

"He gonna be sore tomorrow for sure," said Jacob Brown. "LMAO … warms my heart knowing we could educate that young man." 

Brown resigned from State Police this week, officials confirmed Friday — about a month after his most recent arrest. He has now been arrested in three separate incidents that together suggest a pattern of alleged abuse: All the incidents were traffic stops involving Black men who were subjected to unnecessary force, including being beaten with a flashlight, punched in the head and otherwise bloodied, investigators found.

An attorney representing Brown, Scott Wolleson, declined to comment Friday.

While details about the two other incidents have been previously disclosed in public records and lawsuits, that May 2020 encounter remained largely a mystery because the case is being handled in Franklin Parish, where officials denied having copies of any relevant court documents. That changed when the arrest warrant for DeMoss was filed into the court record last week. The warrant was attached to a recent lawsuit filed on behalf of three troopers facing criminal charges — DeMoss, George Harper and Randall Dickerson — seeking to halt the ongoing internal investigations against them.

The suit, which was filed in 19th Judicial District Court, argues that State Police officials failed to follow the proper timeline for administrative investigations against Louisiana law enforcement officers. State law specifies that investigations must be launched within 14 days of whenever supervisors become aware of the incident. A judge agreed to temporarily halt the investigations pending his final decision on the matter, which is expected next week. 

In addition to Brown and DeMoss, Harper was arrested last month in connection with the May 2020 incident. He also participated in the group text, according to the warrant.

After reviewing bodycam footage and interviewing the suspect, as well as other law enforcement witnesses, investigators concluded that those three troopers used unnecessary and unreasonable force, the warrant says. Investigators also concluded that Brown lied about what happened, claiming the suspect resisted arrest after losing control of his vehicle during the chase.

The incident originated from a traffic stop that Brown conducted after he noticed the driver drifted over the fog line after changing lanes on Interstate 20 in Richland Parish, according to the warrant. After running his Mississippi license, Brown noticed the driver had outstanding warrants for gun and escape charges. He called for backup, but while he was waiting for other troopers to arrive, the driver returned to his vehicle and fled. The police chase followed, ending 29 miles later in Franklin Parish after deputies used spike strips to stop the fleeing vehicle.

The warrant notes that Brown accurately described those parts of the encounter. But his descriptions of what came next were deemed untruthful.

Brown reported that the driver fled on foot but stopped when troopers told him to lie on the ground. Brown said the man then wedged his hands under his prone body and ignored commands to place them behind his back, fighting with troopers and hindering their efforts to get him into handcuffs. 

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"Troopers began delivering tactical strikes … to gain compliance," Brown wrote in his report, which is quoted in the warrant. He said troopers were able to "overpower" the man "after an extensive struggle." 

However, internal investigators reviewed bodycam footage of the encounter and concluded that the suspect actually "immediately surrendered" after exiting his vehicle and laid on the ground with his arms extended, the warrant says. Investigators noted that DeMoss approached the man first and "delivered a knee strike" and then slapped him in the face even though he "had surrendered and was not resisting." DeMoss then turned off his body camera, the warrant says.

The beating continued as Harper punched the man in the head several times and Brown pulled his hair, according to the warrant. Both Harper and Brown were holding flashlights, even though the warrant notes it was daylight. 

After troopers searched the man, DeMoss pulled him up by his hair, the warrant says.

Then Harper told him: "I hope you act up when we get to the f****** jail. I am going to punish you, dumb b****. What the f*** is wrong with you."

The three troopers later exchanged text messages. The conversation started when Brown asked "How was his attitude at the jail" and Harper responded: "Complete silence." The exchange devolved from there, the warrant shows.

"Bet he won't run from a full grown bear again," Brown wrote, to which DeMoss replied: "Bet he don't even cross into LA anymore."

Records show at least two of the troopers, DeMoss and Harper, received counseling back in June 2020 after supervisors reviewed their bodycam footage from the incident. The troopers received letters from a supervisor warning them about profane language and noting that it was inappropriate to strike the suspect and lift him up using his hair. But the consequences stopped there — until the troopers were notified several months later of ongoing administrative and criminal investigations against them.

That incident was the most recent of three separate cases in which Brown is accused of violating Louisiana law. He was arrested for the first time in December, accused of beating Aaron Bowman with a flashlight and causing him serious injuries, including broken ribs, a fractured arm and deep cuts to his head. Bowman filed a lawsuit against State Police last year after learning of a similar incident involving several members of Troop F — including DeMoss — that left Ronald Greene dead in police custody.

State Police had initially claimed Greene died upon impact after crashing his car during a police chase, but a lawsuit filed on behalf of his family alleges troopers actually beat the man to death, leaving him "bloodied and in cardiac arrest" before covering up what happened.

Both Bowman and Greene were beaten with a flashlight, according to attorneys. Both incidents occurred in May 2019, but State Police did not open investigations into either case until receiving lawsuits several months later accusing troopers of using excessive force and lying about it. The agency has also refused to release bodycam footage until its investigations are complete.

Ron Haley, who represents both plaintiffs, said the arrest warrant that surfaced Friday adds to a growing pile of egregious misconduct allegations threatening the integrity of State Police.

"This further shows that there is a cultural problem with State Police, in particular at Troop F," he said after reviewing the warrant Friday. "The fact that it has taken almost two years for even one ounce of accountability is extremely disturbing. Why has it taken so long?"

Not long after the Troop F scandals started coming to light, Col. Kevin Reeves stepped down as State Police superintendent last fall. He had spent decades at Troop F before his promotion to the top job.

His top assistant was Bob Brown, Jacob Brown's father, who also came from Troop F and has since retired. 

While Jacob Brown resigned this week, DeMoss and Harper remain on administrative leave, as does Dickerson who was arrested last month. All four face charges of simple battery and malfeasance in office, plus an additional obstruction of justice charge for Brown.

Dickerson was accused, alongside Brown, of using excessive force during yet another traffic stop in Ouachita Parish in spring 2019.

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