THE INVESTIGATORS: LSP calls release of body camera video in Ronald Greene case ‘premature’
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana State Police say the publishing of body camera footage of the arrest of Ronald Greene by a national news outlet is “premature” and was “not authorized.”
The Associated Press released body camera footage of the 2019 arrest of Greene in Union Parish, La. on Wednesday, May 19.
Louisiana State Police issued a statement to WAFB’s Scottie Hunter saying the release of the body camera video was not authorized:
“The investigation into the death of Ronald Greene remains under review by federal and state authorities. The premature public release of investigative files and video evidence in this case is not authorized and was not obtained through official sources. LSP is confident in the judicial system and fair review of this incident and continues to offer our full cooperation. Unauthorized release of evidence undermines the investigative process and compromises the fair and impartial outcome for the Greene family, LSP employees, and the community,” a spokesperson for the law enforcement agency said.
The ACLU also released a statement after the body cam footage was made public. It read in part:
“Nearly two years after Ronald Greene’s death, we now know what Louisiana State Police were trying to hide: Ronald Greene was tortured to death by officers who denied him life-saving aide for more than nine minutes. What we are witnessing on this video is a brutal killing - a killing that was committed by cops but also condoned by our laws, perpetuated by white supremacy, and encouraged by a culture of impunity and violence.”
The NAACP, ACLU of Louisiana, VOTE, ADL South Central Region (Anti-Defamation League), Urban League of Louisiana, and VERA Institute for Justice later issued a joint statement. It read in part:
“Today, we saw limited video footage of Louisiana State Police officers brutally assaulting Ronald Greene and failing to render aid once he was under their control. It’s apparent that Mr. Greene died from his wounds and not the fictitious car accident reported by these officers to cover up his death in 2019.”
**Scroll to the bottom of the story to read the full statements.
Gov. John Bel Edwards was asked on Thursday, May 20, by the 9News Investigators why Louisiana State Police refuses to release the video, even though it’s now already out there.
Louisiana State Police troopers have said the chase began after Greene did not stop when officers attempted to pull him over. Greene died at the scene.
In the video, 49-year-old Greene could be heard saying “I’m scared” during the encounter with Louisiana State Troopers.
Greene was hit by a stun gun several times by troopers before being handcuffed. The Associated Press reports the full 46-minute body camera video shows one trooper putting Greene in a chokehold and punching him in the face while another Trooper off-camera calls Greene a “stupid motherf------.”
The Associated Press reports troopers left Greene unattended and facedown on the ground while handcuffed for more than nine minutes.
RELATED: AUDIO: Louisiana trooper admits beating, choking Ronald Greene during fatal traffic stop
Louisiana State Police say they launched an investigation into Greene’s death the night it happened and turned over their findings to the Union Parish District Attorney’s office nearly a year ago.
A separate federal civil rights investigation into the case has also been launched.
Attorneys representing the family of Greene had planned to hold a news conference at 4 p.m. Wednesday about the release of the body camera footage but later said it will be rescheduled for a later date.
FULL ACLU STATEMENT:
“Nearly two years after Ronald Greene’s death, we now know what Louisiana State Police were trying to hide: Ronald Greene was tortured to death by officers who denied him life-saving aide for more than nine minutes. What we are witnessing on this video is a brutal killing - a killing that was committed by cops but also condoned by our laws, perpetuated by white supremacy, and encouraged by a culture of impunity and violence.
Mona Hardin, Ronald Greene’s mother urges, ‘This was a premeditated taking of Ronnie’s life.’ Moreover, ‘what state police leadership have referred to as ‘awful but lawful’ is nothing more than corruption and an unjustifiable murder.’
Once again, we have proof that another unarmed Black man has been brutally killed by cops – we are deeply sympathetic to his family who have to watch this horrific video and grieve their loved one because of the actions of police officers who still have not been held accountable. The fact that Ronald Greene’s family had to wait two years after his death for this footage to be released to the public is an unacceptable miscarriage of justice that needs to be addressed now.
Louisiana State Police, despite having a long history of excessive force and civil rights violations, are often charged with investigating allegations of excessive force and misconduct by local police departments.
These interactions are not new. The systemic targeting of and use of excessive force against people of color is woven into the fabric of our law enforcement institutions and stems from the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow in this country. Nothing will change about policing until everything changes about policing. Not only must the officers responsible for this atrocity be held accountable, but our entire system of policing also needs to be reimagined. A system that produces such extreme levels of violence and brutality cannot be reformed – it must be dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up.
There is no alternate path toward justice.”
FULL JOINT STATEMENT BY NAACP, ACLU OF LOUISIANA, AND OTHERS:
“Today, we saw limited video footage of Louisiana State Police officers brutally assaulting Ronald Greene and failing to render aid once he was under their control. It’s apparent that Mr. Greene died from his wounds and not the fictitious car accident reported by these officers to cover up his death in 2019.
The statement issued by the Louisiana State Police exacerbates the distrust that this gruesome incident has engendered within the community. Mr. Greene’s death did not happen in a vacuum. There have been recent, deeply troubling incidents involving excessive force and racism by the State Police directed at people of color.
There has been no public transparency since Mr. Greene’s death 474 days ago and no relief to the heartbreak experienced by his family. Yet the State Police’s statement is only concerned about the unauthorized release of the appalling video, and not its disturbing content. This apathetic response, and the apparent continuing cover-up of this incident demonstrates why the State Police should not be responsible for investigating how Mr. Greene died, and calls into question whether systemic racism has inappropriately influenced the agency’s assessment and reporting on similar incidents across the state over many years.
While we await the results of the FBI’s ongoing investigation, we call on the Louisiana State Police leadership to release all videos of this incident in their possession and urge Governor Edwards to implement independent oversight of the agency as a whole.”
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