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Louisiana State Police headquarters, Wednesday, November 14, 2018 in Baton Rouge, La.

Another Louisiana State Police trooper has resigned and two more will stop receiving their taxpayer funded salaries after getting arrested earlier this year, accused of mistreating Black suspects. 

The case has already raised serious questions about the culture at Monroe-based Troop F, which is the subject of multiple lawsuits alleging troopers used excessive force in encounters with Black people, including one that left a man dead from his injuries. The allegations also include attempts to cover up the beatings. 

State Police officials said Thursday that Randall Dickerson, one of the arrested troopers, had resigned from the agency effective March 28. He was the second trooper to resign in recent weeks: Jacob Brown issued his resignation last month while facing criminal charges in at least three separate excessive force incidents.

The Louisiana State Police Commission, which oversees civil service rules for troopers, also voted unanimously Thursday morning to place troopers Dakota DeMoss and George Harper on unpaid leave. But the commission allowed those troopers to first use up their compensatory time, which typically refers to overtime hours that officers accrue as future paid time off. 

Commission members said their decision was "consistent with prior practices" and officials said the process is unfolding as usual for troopers placed on leave pending the results of a criminal investigation. After 400 hours of paid administrative leave, State Police can submit a request for unpaid leave moving forward, which is what happened here.

For DeMoss and Harper, the 400 hours will expire April 12, at which point they will start using up their compensatory time. State Police officials declined to provide details about how much time the two have accrued. 

Meanwhile, a Baton Rouge judge recently issued a ruling allowing the internal investigations against those troopers to proceed after their attorneys argued the investigations were untimely and invalid.

All four troopers were assigned to Troop F, which patrols the Monroe area and several surrounding parishes. They were arrested in February after investigators found evidence of excessive force in two separate encounters.

The first incident, which involved Brown and Dickerson, occurred in July 2019 during a traffic stop in Ouachita Parish. The second occurred in May 2020 following a car chase in Franklin Parish. In that case, troopers Brown, DeMoss and Harper traded jokes in a group text after booking the suspect into jail, their conversation peppered with abbreviations for "laughing my ass off" and "laugh out loud."

"He was still digesting that ass whoopin," DeMoss said, suggesting the man would "have nightmares for a long time."

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"He gonna be sore tomorrow for sure," Brown added. "Warms my heart knowing we could educate that young man."

Records show that 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. 

Those notifications came after a change in leadership. Col. Kevin Reeves stepped down as superintendent last fall amid the widening misconduct probe at Troop F, which began with a lawsuit filed by the family of Ronald Greene, the man who died following an encounter with state troopers in 2019. Reeves had served for decades at Troop F before his promotion to agency head.

Col. Lamar Davis was appointed his successor, becoming the fourth African American superintendent in the history of State Police. He has pledged to root out corruption and seek to repair trust with Black communities.

Attorneys for the arrested troopers argued in recent court filings that Davis failed to follow the proper timeline for administrative investigations, which must be launched within 14 days of whenever supervisors become aware of the incident. The attorneys claimed that leaders violated that rule by opening new investigations after Davis took charge.

They obtained a temporary restraining order halting the investigations pending a court ruling, but 19th Judicial District Judge Ron Johnson announced March 18 that the investigations could proceed as planned.

State Police officials said Thursday that the investigations have resumed and are set to conclude April 25. Discipline decisions for DeMoss and Harper — which could include demotions or termination — should follow soon thereafter. The troopers could then appeal their discipline before the Louisiana State Police Commission, which would decide to either uphold or overturn the decisions according to state civil service law. 


Email Lea Skene at lskene@theadvocate.com.