“He’s gonna have nightmares for a long time,” trooper Dakota DeMoss allegedly said of what unfolded in Franklin Parish, La.
“Warms my heart knowing we could educate that young man,” Brown replied.
The court filings from earlier this month, which were first reported by Sound Off Louisiana, come weeks after four White officers — Brown, DeMoss, George Harper and Randall Dickerson — were arrested on accusations of excessive force, lying about multiple arrests and turning off their body cameras.
Brown, 30, who faces charges in two other excessive force cases, resigned on Wednesday. DeMoss, 28, and Harper, 26, were placed on administrative leave after an internal investigation concluded that Harris was beaten after he “immediately surrendered.”
Dickerson, 34, faces charges from a separate case in 2019 in which he allegedly struck a Black man he had pulled over for a traffic stop five times “towards his head and administering a knee strike to his body,” according to court records.
All four officers were released on bond last month, WBRZ reported. An officer who assisted in arresting Harris was not charged after investigators and body camera footage found that he was not violent toward the man.
The scene in Franklin Parish last year is reminiscent of the case of Ronald Greene, 49, who died in police custody in 2019 after an officer allegedly kicked and dragged the handcuffed Black man by his leg shackles following a high-speed chase, reported the Associated Press.
Body camera audio of the incident captured an officer saying he viciously beat Greene, according to WBRZ. Officer Kory York was suspended without pay last month, and a federal civil rights investigation of the case is ongoing. DeMoss, one of the officers in the Harris case, is also one of several troopers named in Greene’s investigation.
Louisiana State Police Capt. Nick Manale told The Washington Post that the agency declined to comment “due to the ongoing investigations and litigation.”
Michael DuBos, the attorney for the officers, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Efforts to reach Harris were unsuccessful; it’s unclear whether he has an attorney.
On May 23, 2020, Brown pulled over Harris for drifting between lanes on Interstate-20 in Richland Parish, La., around 5:30 p.m., court records show. Brown found that Harris was driving with a suspended license and multiple warrants for firearm violations, the officer told authorities. When Brown requested backup, Harris fled in his blue Hyundai Sonata, authorities said.
What unfolded was a 29-mile chase that lasted 14 minutes, with speeds reaching 150 mph. It was only when police deployed a “tire deflation device” that Harris drove off the side of the highway, according to court records.
Harris surrendered as soon as he left the vehicle, investigators found, and “laid face down (prone) on the ground and extended his arms away from his body and his legs spread apart.”
But DeMoss, the first officer to respond, “delivered a knee strike” and slapped Harris in the face before turning off his body camera, records show. Moments later, Harper struck Harris several times in the head with a closed-fist punch “reinforced” by a flashlight, and flipped his body camera facedown. After Brown arrived, the officer, who reportedly turned off the audio on his body camera, allegedly knelt near the top of Harris’s head and began pulling his hair.
“I am going to punish you,” Harper said to Harris in an expletive-laden tirade, according to court records.
Harris was arrested on multiple charges, including driving under suspicion and resisting an officer. The filings say the officers produced “wholly untrue” reports saying Harris was resisting and continuing to flee.
“At no time did Harris resist arrest,” the internal investigation concluded.
The firearm warrants Harris had in Mississippi proved to be void because the state did not seek extradition, records found.
Records of the group text that followed show multiple messages in which the officers mocked and boasted about beating Harris. When Brown texted the troopers to ask what Harris’s attitude was like at the Richland Parish Detention Center, Harper replied, “Complete silence,” according to court documents.
According to the records, Brown laughed and DeMoss suggested that Harris was “still digesting that ‘a-- whoopin.’ ”
“BET he won’t run from a full grown bear again,” Brown texted.
DeMoss went one step further: “Bet he don’t even cross into LA anymore.”
“He gonna spread the word,” Harper responded.
In a statement last month, Col. Lamar Davis, the superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, condemned the reported actions of the officers.
“The unjustifiable use of force by our personnel is inexcusable and tarnishes the exemplary work of our dedicated men and women of the Department of Public Safety,” he said. “Our agency remains committed to upholding the public trust and providing professional, fair, and compassionate public safety services.”