Last October, The Root reported on the mysterious and fatal story of 49-year-old Ronald Greene—a Black man who died in police custody after leading officers on a high-speed chase in Louisiana in 2019. It’s a wild yet familiar story where a Black man is brought to the hospital bruised and bloodied. The cops claimed his injuries were sustained when Greene’s car crashed ending the chase, but video footage of the arrest shown to Greene’s family and their attorney reportedly showed heinous acts of police brutality that preceded his death on May 10, 2019.
The Associated Press reports that Louisiana State Police Trooper Kory York has been suspended without pay following an investigation during which it was revealed that body camera footage showed him kicking and dragging Greene “on his stomach by the leg shackles,” according to State Police records.
The records are the first public acknowledgement by State Police that Greene was mistreated, and they confirm details provided last year by an attorney for Greene’s family who viewed graphic body camera footage of the May 2019 arrest and likened it the police killing of George Floyd. The video shows troopers choking and beating the man, repeatedly jolting him with stun guns and dragging him face-down across the pavement, the attorney told AP.
State Police have repeatedly refused to publicly release the body camera footage. The agency has been tight lipped about Greene’s death and initially blamed the man’s fatal injuries on a car crash outside Monroe, La.
“You’re gonna lay on your fucking belly like I told you!” York can be heard saying in the video, according to AP. York reportedly turned his own body-cam off on his way to the scene where Greene was arrested and gave the lamest of excuses as to why his camera wasn’t turned on. He told investigators that he turned it off because it was beeping loudly, that his “mind was on other things” once he got to the scene and that he simply “didn’t think about it.”
“It is now undisputed that Trooper York participated in the brutal assault that took Ronald Greene’s life,” Philadelphia civil rights attorney Mark Maguire, who represents Greene’s family, said. “This suspension is a start but it does not come close to the full transparency and accountability the family continues to seek.”
York has only been suspended for 50 days, so yeah, this is far from true accountability.
Curious things have happened to other officers involved in Greene’s detainment. Last year, AP published a 27-second audio clip from the body-cam worn by Officer Chris Hollingsworth who can be heard bragging that he “beat the ever-living fuck out of” Greene and “choked him and everything else trying to get him under control.”
“We finally got him in handcuffs when a third man got there, and the son of a bitch was still fighting him, was still wrestling with him trying to hold him down,” he said. “He was spitting blood everywhere and all of a sudden he just went limp.”
Hollingsworth ironically died in a car crash just after he learned that he would be fired over his involvement in Greene’s arrest based on what was heard in the footage.
Meanwhile, Dakota DeMoss, the first trooper who chased Greene, “was recently arrested in connection with a separate police pursuit last year in which he and two other troopers allegedly used excessive force while handcuffing a motorist,” AP reports.
It’s unclear why Greene ran from the cops, but his family said that the footage they viewed showed that his last words were “I’m sorry.” At any rate, we might be able to find out why if he were still alive.
This kind of police violence has to stop.