Louisiana State Police release of video related to in-custody death of Ronald Greene

Louisiana

This image from video from Louisiana state trooper Lt. John Clary’s body-worn camera shows trooper Kory York standing over Ronald Greene on his stomach on May 10, 2019, outside of Monroe, La. (Louisiana State Police via AP)

WEST MONROE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Louisiana State Police has released all video evidence related to the death of Ronald Greene in May 2019 during a traffic stop outside of Monroe.

Superintendent Col. Lamar Davis announced the pending release of the video during a news conference at the Louisiana State Police Training Academy in Baton Rouge late Friday afternoon, saying that said they intended to release the bodycam footage all along, but were abiding by rules governing the release of evidence during active investigations.

“Although the investigation into the death of Ronald Greene remains under review by federal and state authorities, LSP has obtained authority to release the entirety of the incident videos and facts related to the investigative timeline and process,” LSP said in a statement released with the video early Friday evening.

“While the premature release of investigative files and video evidence can have a negative effect on the criminal justice proceedings of any investigation, LSP remains confident in the judicial system and fair review of this incident and continues to offer our full cooperation.”

“Below are detailed timelines of the incident, links to the full unredacted body camera videos, and notable facts being misrepresented in the media forum,” the statement noted, along with a warning to viewers about the graphic nature, language, and content of the videos.

Louisiana State Police also released an investigative timeline along with the videos:

  • 05/10/19 – 0045 Troop F Commander notified of Troop F pursuit/confrontation with Greene
  • 05/10/19 – 0122 Troop F Commander notified of Greene’s passing, responds along with Bureau of Investigations (BOI)
  • 05/10/19 – 0241 BOI Commander confirms that LSP Criminal Investigations Division Monroe Field Office (CID-Monroe) is enroute to investigate
  • 05/10/19 – 0544 Troop F Commander posts Command Duty Journal entry
  • 05/10/19 – KNOE, KTVE, Monroe News Star post stories citing LSP as source noting pursuit, struggle, and death
  • 05/10/19 – CID-Monroe immediately commences investigation
  • 08/20/19 – CID-Monroe submits case to the Lincoln Parish DA
  • 09/09/19 – CID-Monroe follows up with DA, nothing further needed
  • 02/20/20 – CID-Monroe provides case file to DOJ/FBI
  • August of 2020 – Lincoln DA finishes LSP case review; however, he reserves right to revisit pending DOJ review therefore case remains open
  • 08/25/20 – Appointing Authority directs Internal Affairs to begin Admin Investigation into Use of Force

The release of the video and timeline comes as scrutiny intensifies over Greene’s death after the Associated Press obtained state police dashcam video of the encounter and published it Wednesday, showing troopers shocking, choking, and beating him. Louisiana State Police initially said Greene died when he crashed his SUV into a tree while fleeing from troopers. State police later released a one-page statement acknowledging only that Greene struggled with troopers and died on his way to the hospital.

The video obtained by the AP shows Greene, 49, desperately tried to roll over in what may have been a struggle to breathe but was ordered to stay on his belly.

According to the Associated Press, a long-secret autopsy report, also newly secured, cited Greene’s head injuries and the way he was restrained as factors in his death. It also noted he had high levels of cocaine and alcohol in his system as well as a broken breastbone and a torn aorta.

Disciplinary actions taken against Louisiana State Police Troopers

As a result of an internal investigation, state police say Trooper Hollingsworth was set to be fired for the following violations when he died in a motor vehicle crash before the disciplinary action could be carried out:

  1. Body-Worn Camera and In-Car Camera Systems
  2. Use of Force
  3. Unsatisfactory Performance
  4. Conduct Unbecoming an Officer
  5. Lawful Orders

Trooper DeMoss received a Letter of Counseling and Letter of Reprimand for violations of policy regarding courtesy and body-worn/in-car camera systems and has been notified of the department’s intent to terminate and remains on leave pending the conclusion of disciplinary proceedings related to a separate excessive use of force investigation, according to LSP.

Trooper York got a 50-hour suspension for violations of policy regarding the treatment of prisoners in custody and body-worn/in-car camera system activation. State police say York served his suspension and returned to active duty pending the outcome of the review by federal and state authorities.

The incident is now the subject of a federal civil rights investigation.

“Misconduct in our agency will not be tolerated. As investigations are completed, I assure you there will be swift action,” Davis said Friday.

“Today, Louisiana State Police released all of the video footage in its possession from the arrest of Ronald Greene, a move which I strongly support,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement following the state police news conference announcing the release of the video.

“This was done in consultation with both the U.S. Attorney’s office and District Attorney John Belton in Union Parish. As I’ve said before, I found the full video of Mr. Greene’s arrest, which I reviewed last year, to be disturbing and difficult to watch. After I met with Ronald Greene’s family on October 14 of last year, they were given the opportunity to see all of the videos, and I know it was difficult and heartbreaking for them to watch the last moments of Mr. Greene’s life.

I am fully supportive of Louisiana State Police Col. Lamar Davis, who became the head of LSP last October, and have confidence in his ability to not only lead, but transform the agency. While the federal and state criminal investigations into this matter are ongoing, Col. Davis continues to work to improve the department so all Louisianans can have confidence in those who swore an oath to protect and serve them.”

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