September 28, 2021

ACLU-LA has received 400 complaints against racist policing in Louisiana 

NEW ORLEANS – In the 22nd case filed as part of its Justice Lab campaign, the ACLU of Louisiana, alongside Covington & Burling LLP, is suing deputies from the DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office (DPSO) and the Louisiana State Police Department for unnecessary and excessive use of force against a Black man. On September 27, 2019, Mr. Jarius Brown was arrested for nonviolent vehicle offenses and transported to DPSO where he was brutally beaten by deputies without legal justification, warning, or provocation as he changed his clothing. Despite full compliance, two DeSoto Parish deputies hit Mr. Brown several times in his face, nose, and chest, causing him to collapse and struggle to remain conscious.  

“The latest instance of unnecessary and excessive use of force against an unarmed Black man by officers in our state shows yet again that police accountability does not exist in Louisiana,” said Nora Ahmed, ACLU of Louisiana legal director. “Mr. Brown’s attack is consistent with an extensive history of violence and police brutality committed by members of Louisiana law enforcement. That conduct has unfortunately been present for decades and has been implicitly endorsed by Louisiana State Police troopers and officials—the very force that initiated Mr. Brown’s arrest. LSP has proven it remains incapable of upholding its duty to protect and serve and has no respect for Louisianans constitutional rights. Our communities of color can no longer suffer from this ongoing government-sanctioned violence and the terror it instills in the Black community.”

Immediately following Mr. Brown’s attack, he was given a prison jumpsuit and taken to a holding cell where he remained in isolation—bloody, beaten, and struggling to remain conscious—before his injuries were noticed by another deputy at the Sheriff’s Office. As a result of the attack, Mr. Brown sustained multiple injuries and continues to experience mental and emotional trauma from the beating.

Louisiana is one of only three other states that gives people just one year from the date of the incident to challenge unconstitutional policing in court, which greatly contributes to the systematic lack of accountability for victims of police brutality in Louisiana—a violation of the spirit and intent of governing Supreme Court precedent. Incarcerated victims like Mr. Brown are both traumatized and entirely at the mercy of their abusers. In Mr. Brown’s case, it was not until he was transferred to another facility away from the officers that abused him, that he began to recover and could begin pursuing a case. 

Mr. Brown is one of countless Black men who have been unjustly brutalized by law enforcement in Louisiana. By bringing this case, Mr. Brown seeks to hold the DeSoto Parish deputies accountable for their violation of citizens’ rights under the U.S. Constitution and Louisiana state laws.