Louisiana Governor to Meet with Black Legislative Leaders After New Report on Ronald Greene Death Inquest | national

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Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards will meet with the Black Legislative Caucus on Tuesday to discuss recent new allegations in the Ronald Greene case.

Greene, a 49-year-old black man, died in 2019 after what police described as resisting arrest and struggling with officers. However, his family said they learned that Greene had died in a car accident after a police chase, CNN has already reported.

Videos of the incident were not released for two years after Greene’s death. This showed that Greene was tasered, kicked and punched by Louisiana State Police officers before dying in their custody.

The governor’s office and the Louisiana Western District Justice Department dispute recent Associated Press report this suggests that the governor was silent for two years about what he knew about what really happened on the night of May 10, 2019, when Greene died.

In a statement to CNN, Edwards’ office said “neither the Governor nor any member of the Governor’s staff has ever intervened or interfered in any criminal investigation, including the investigation into Mr. Greene’s death.” .

After the meeting with the LLBC on Tuesday, Edwards will speak to the media, his office said.

Governor’s Office Dispute Report

An official in the governor’s office provided CNN with a screenshot they say demonstrates the governor didn’t know about the allegations against police until a year after Greene’s death.

Christina Stephens, Edwards’ Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications, said, “The Governor has learned for the first time of the serious allegations against the Louisiana State Police regarding the arrest and death of Mr. Ronald Greene. in September 2020. He had previously been informed of the arrest and death of an unnamed individual in May 2019 by LSP Superintendent Colonel Kevin Reeves.

Stephens sent CNN a screenshot of the text message with Reeves dated May 10, 2019 at 10 a.m. The text says in part that soldiers tried to stop a speeding vehicle that eventually crashed.

“But, a violent and long fight took place”, says the text. “The suspect remained combative but became unresponsive shortly before EMS arrived,” adding that the suspect was pronounced dead in hospital. Nowhere in the text is Ronald Greene named.

Edwards did not see the video of the incident involving Greene until October 2020, Stephens said, and “from the time the governor became aware of the allegations and saw the videos, he always said the actions of the officers in the videos were disturbing and unacceptable and that the matter should be fully investigated by federal and state authorities.”

According to the AP, the FBI is also investigating “awareness of various aspects of the case, according to law enforcement officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the investigation.”

But the Louisiana Western District Justice Department said in a statement that it was “inaccurate.”

“As the investigation continues, recent reports citing sources suggesting that the FBI questioned individuals about Governor John Bel Edwards’ knowledge of certain facts are inaccurate,” the DOJ statement said.

The DOJ is conducting “an open and ongoing criminal investigation” into Greene’s death.

Videos showed Greene’s brutal arrest

It wasn’t until videos of the arrest were released by the AP and then the LSP in May 2021 – two years after his death – that the graphic details of the struggle were revealed.

Many body cam and dash cam videos of four responding officers offer a more detailed account of the 2019 encounter near the town of Monroe, with footage showing portions of the car chase as well as the four-minute footage from when police open the car of Greene and the moment he is handcuffed to the ground.

In the videos, Greene tells officers he is scared as at least two soldiers try to pull him out of the vehicle.

A struggle is seen in the videos as officers attempt to handcuff Greene. A soldier appears to put Greene in a chokehold as they struggle on the ground, and Greene lies there while another soldier continues to taser him as he is restrained by the other soldier.

Greene moans as he lies face down while a soldier sits on top of him, pressing his hand to the back of Greene’s neck and punching him in the face, the video shows. Another soldier tries to handcuff him and punches him in the lower back, according to the images.

The soldiers appear to stop beating Greene after handcuffing him and leaving him face down on the ground. As they walk away, one of them says, “You stupid mother,” as Greene continues to scream.

Body camera audio from one of the officers, Private Chris Hollingsworth, revealed a telephone switchboard inside his patrol vehicle after the beating. He begins by saying that Greene was drunk.

“And I beat him to death and I choked him and everything trying to control him and we finally handcuffed him when a third man came along and the son of a bitch was still fighting and we were still struggling with him trying to hold him back because he was spitting blood everywhere,” the officer said in the video.

“And then all of a sudden, he got all limp.”

Hollingsworth was to be fired for violations involving body-worn cameras and car camera systems, use of force, performance, lawful orders and conduct unbecoming an officer, but he died in a car accident before his dismissal took effect.

Greene’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in May 2020.

The-CNN-Wire

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CNN’s Dave Alsup, Ryan Young, Chris Boyette and Aya Elamroussi contributed to this report.

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