Antonio Harris (2020)

From LEO Ratings

Overview

On May 23, 2020, Louisiana State Police Trooper Jacob Brown stopped Harris for failure to maintain his lane.[1] During the investigation, Harris got back in his car and fled, leading officers on a 29-mile chase that reached speeds of 150 mph.[2] Brown muted his body-worn camera during the chase.[1]

Sheriff's deputies deployed a spike strip, which caused Harris to crash.[2] Harris exited the vehicle and "immediately surrendered" by laying on the ground with his arms and legs spread apart.[1]

Antonio Harris before police arrived
Antonio Harris before police arrived

Trooper Dakota DeMoss made the initial contact, "delivered a knee strike", and slapped Harris in the face with an open palm. DeMoss brought Harris' hands behind his back but did not handcuff him. DeMoss turned off his body-worn camera.[1]

Trooper Larry Shappley arrived and helped to secure Harris' hands.[1]

As Trooper George Harper arrived, his body-worn camera dislodged from his uniform and landed on the ground, face up. Harper turned the camera face-down, and no subsequent video was recorded.[1]

Shappley attempted to handcuff Harris, but the cuffs got tangled in Harris' shirt and could not be closed.[1] Harper punched Harris in the head several times while his fist was "reinforced" by a flashlight.[1] Brown pulled Harris' hair.[2] An unidentified officer used their stun gun.[3]

The officers were able to handcuff Harris[1] before DeMoss got Harris to his feet by pulling on his hair.[3]

As Harris was taken to a patrol vehicle, Harper said, "I hope you act up when we get to the fucking jail. I am going to punish you...".[1]

The incident was captured by nine different body-worn and in-vehicle cameras.[1]

Harris was charged with aggravated flight from a law enforcement officer, resisting an officer, suspended driver's license, improper passing, speeding, improper lane use, ignoring traffic controls, and reckless operation of a vehicle.[1]

Brown wrote the arrest report, which differed from what was seen in the videos. Brown claimed that Harris ran after the crash, stopped when officers ordered him to, hid his hands under his body, resisted being handcuffed, and required an "extensive struggle" before Harris was secured. Brown documented the use of force as "defensive tactics". The report did not mention the existence of video evidence.[1]

After Harris had been taken to the jail, the officers used their vehicle data terminals to exchange text messages. DeMoss described the incident as an "ass whoopin". Brown suggested that Harris would "be sore tomorrow for sure" and "won't run from a full grown bear again". DeMoss thought that Harris would have "nightmares for a while". Brown's comment that the incident "warms my heart knowing we could educate that young man" was met by laughter from other officers.[1]

On June 17, 2020, the department gave DeMoss and Harper "counseling sessions". DeMoss was faulted for using "profane language", turning his FM radio up "extremely loud" during the chase, switching stations "in order to find the right song", and pulling Harris up by the hair. Harper was criticized for using profane language and threatening Harris. [1]

On December 9, 2020, the department initiated a criminal investigation.[1]

On January 22, 2021, DeMoss and Harper were placed on administrative leave.[1]

On February 8, 2021, the department concluded their investigation, and declared Brown's reports as "wholly untrue" and the force used "not necessary and unreasonable".[1]

On February 8, 2021, DeMoss, Harper, and Brown were arrested and placed on paid administrative leave. All three were charged with misdemeanor simple battery and felony malfeasance in office. Brown was also charged with obstruction of justice.[4][5][1]

On March 10, 2021, Brown, who was also involved in the Morgan Blake and Aaron Bowman incidents, resigned.[6]

On June 4, 2021, DeMoss and Harper were fired.[7]

About May 12, 2022, state prosecutors charged DeMoss, Harper, and Brown with misdemeanor simple battery and chose not to pursue the malfeasance charge. The troopers face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted.[8]

Video

Body-worn camera footage of arrest

Officers Involved


Official Reports

Additional Sources

References