Details regarding the 2019 death of Ronald Greene after an altercation with Louisiana state troopers have been shrouded in mystery, with Greene’s family accusing the State Police of attempting a cover up. Police officials initially said that Greene died on impact after his car crashed into a tree. Recently released body camera footage of the incident paints a very different, and far more horrific picture.
The Associated Press reports that on May 10, 2019, Green, a Black man, failed to pull over for an unknown traffic violation and led officers on a high speed pursuit. As mentioned above, State Police initially told Greene’s family that he died after crashing into a tree. They eventually released a one-page statement saying that Greene got into an altercation with officers and died on his way to the hospital.
In the two years since the incident, police officials have repeatedly refused calls to release body camera footage of the incident or provide thorough details about what exactly led to his death. AP obtained and released body camera footage from one of the officers involved in Greene’s arrest and it’s abundantly clear why they didn’t: they brutalized a man and then tried to lie about it.
The 46-minute clip shows one trooper wrestling Greene to the ground, putting him in a chokehold and punching him in the face while another can be heard calling him a “stupid motherf——.”
Greene wails “I’m sorry!” as another trooper delivers another stun gun shock to his backside and warns, “Look, you’re going to get it again if you don’t put your f——- hands behind your back!” Another trooper can be seen briefly dragging the man facedown after his legs had been shackled and his hands cuffed behind him.
Instead of rendering aid, the troopers leave the burly man unattended, facedown and moaning for more than nine minutes as they use sanitizer wipes to wash blood off their hands and faces.
“I hope this guy ain’t got f——— AIDS,” one of the troopers can be heard saying.
After a several-minute stretch in which Greene is not seen on camera, he appears again, limp, unresponsive and bleeding from his head and face. He is then loaded onto an ambulance gurney, his arm cuffed to the bedrail.
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“They murdered him. It was set out, it was planned,” Greene’s mother, Mona Hardin, said Wednesday. “He didn’t have a chance. Ronnie didn’t have a chance. He wasn’t going to live to tell about it.”
A spokesperson for the Louisiana State Police issued a statement condemning the video’s unofficial release.
“LSP is confident in the judicial system and fair review of this incident and continues to offer our full cooperation,” the spokesperson said. “Unauthorized release of evidence undermines the investigative process and compromises the fair and impartial outcome for the Greene family, LSP employees, and the community.”
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think you can really try and take the moral high ground when your organization was blatantly aware that a man was brutalized by officers and decided to call it a car crash.
Administrative officials in the State Police initially ruled that the force used against Greene was “awful but lawful,” and didn’t open an investigation until 474 days after Greene had lied.
And somehow they wonder why we’re not gung-ho about backing the blue.
Greene’s family was previously authorized to view the footage by Governor John Bel Edwards last year, and Edwards said he would release the footage to the public after a federal investigation was completed. The family has filed a federal wrongful-death lawsuit alleging that the troopers “brutalized” Greene, “left him beaten, bloodied and in cardiac arrest,” before ultimately trying to cover up the cause of death.
Trooper Dakota DeMoss, Trooper Kory York, and Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth were all seen in the footage participating to some degree. DeMoss and Hollingsworth approached Greene’s SUV after he pulled over and repeatedly tased him. York was seen grabbing Greene by his ankles and dragging him while he was handcuffed. In a separate recording obtained by AP, Hollingsworth could be heard bragging to a colleague that he “beat the ever-living f—- out of” Greene.
Shortly after being informed that he would be fired for his role in Greene’s case, Hollingsworth died in a single vehicle crash. York was suspended for a week without pay for turning off his body camera and dragging Greene, while DeMoss was later arrested for his role in a similar incident where he allegedly used excessive force when arresting a motorist.