Lawmakers call for transparency around Gov. Edwards and Ronald Greene
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Gov. John Bel Edwards’s office issued its first response on Monday, Jan. 31, on an article by The Associated Press on Friday, Jan. 28, in which a text message was sent to the governor just hours after Ronald Greene died in police custody in 2019.
The governor’s office is playing defense, saying Edwards did not learn of the serious allegations in the case until more than a year after the fact.
Read the full statement below:
- La. lawmakers divided over Ronald Greene case developments
- La. state senator, Ronald Greene’s mother monitoring case developments
- Text messages show Gov. Edwards knew of Ronald Greene’s in-custody death, but stayed silent
- THE INVESTIGATORS: LSP calls release of body camera video in Ronald Greene case ‘premature’
As for the text message he got from Louisiana State Police hours after Greene’s death, the governor’s office characterized it as “standard practice” when someone dies in state police custody. However, members of the governor’s own party are demanding more answers. But, without a doubt, Republicans are sounding the loudest alarms.
Investigators told the Greene family their son was killed in a crash during a car chase but leaked video from body cameras shows Louisiana state troopers hitting and tazing Greene while he was handcuffed and in custody. Recently released text messages between LSP and Gov. Edwards suggest the governor knew a man died in custody hours after it happened.
“This is so disrespectful to the family, and I’m just saddened that almost three years later the Greene family is still waiting for justice,” said Eugene Collins, president of the Baton Rouge NAACP chapter.
He and other Democratic leaders are calling on the governor to explain.
“It was my expectation that the governor would at least be totally transparent with the family,” continued Collins.
The state’s GOP is now calling for a full investigation.
“What did the governor know and when did he know it as the leader of the executive branch of government?” questioned state Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell. “I think those are fair questions that we need to get answers to.”
House Pro-Tem Speaker Tanner Magee, R-Houma, agrees.
“I think there was a lot of surprise from my colleagues that there seems to be a lot more to the story than what we were initially told,” said Rep. Magee.
According to Magee, some Republicans are already calling for articles of impeachment.
“Some people want to start the impeachment proceedings tomorrow; some people are more cautious. I think there’s general agreement though that the governor needs to provide more answers to the public than what he has,” explained Magee.
Political analyst Jim Engster said this news could have a negative effect on the governor’s legacy, just as he’s approaching the end of his term.
“I think the first thing that comes to mind when people discuss John Bel Edwards is his credibility, his integrity,” said Engster. “And to this point, that has been intact and now it’s being questioned.”
But like the others, Engster thinks it’s within the governor’s best interest to answer the many questions people are asking.
“The truth is everything is overshadowed by these state police revelations now. And the governor, in his best interest, probably needs to come forward and say what he knew and when he knew it,” added Engster.
The governor will meet with the Legislative Black Caucus on Tuesday, Feb. 1, about all of this. His office also announced that Gov. Edwards will hold a news conference Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. to discuss the investigation into Greene’s death.
The Legislative Black Caucus released the following statement on Monday, Jan. 31, about the Greene case:
The US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana also issued a statement:
More details to come.
Click here to report a typo.
Copyright 2022 WAFB. All rights reserved.