"Torture and Murder": The Ronald Greene case is turning cop vs. police

Louisiana State Police investigators, who tried to press troopers for the 2019 death of Ronald Greene within days of each other, told lawmakers Tuesday that commanders dismissed their concerns and instructed them to suppress graphic footage of the Black motorist's last moments.

"Torture and Murder": The Ronald Greene case is turning cop vs. police

The video was described by the agency's expert as "torture or murder"

Legislators heard explosive testimony by a supervisor, who claimed he was told not to reveal body-camera footage that showed troopers punching, dragging and stunning Greene.

Lt. Scott Brown stated that no one in his command wanted anything to be done when he addressed a committee looking into the state's handling Greene's death. They can't admit to it. They would go to prison.

Brown did not just ignore the orders, he also reported his superiors the former head state police who he claimed turned a blindeye to interference attempts that are now being investigated by federal authorities.

The bipartisan committee was formed last month following The Associated Press's report that Gov. John Bel Edwards was informed in less than an hour that Greene was being arrested by troopers. But, he kept quiet for the next two years. State troopers had told Greene's family. They also wrote reports that Greene died in a car accident following a high-speed chase near Monroe.

AP published last year the long-hidden body camera video that showed what actually happened. Greene was jolted with stun guns and punched in the face by troopers. He was then dragged by his ankle shackles while he cried, "I'm Your Brother!" I'm scared! I'm scared!"

The day-long hearing on Tuesday did not shed any new light on the governor's knowledge and whereabouts. Many lawmakers voiced frustration at the state police officers' incoherent responses, saying that they were further undermining public trust in this beleaguered agency.

"This is an effort to not be transparent," Tanner Magee (state representative) said at one point while shaming Lt. Col. Doug Cain, second-in command of the agency. "If we believed you, we wouldn't have to be here now."

The panel was able to hear a lot more details from Greene's funeral through interviews with troopers on the front lines, who revealed that their concerns were ignored for many months.

Two officials testified that troopers pepper-sprayed Greene in his shackles before he could stop breathing.

"At the conclusion of the day somebody is going to get my in a deposition, or I'm going on the trial stand... and I'll label it torture and murder," Sergeant. Scott Davis, an expert on the use of force for the agency, spoke to lawmakers.

Albert Paxton, the lead detective investigating Greene's murder, stated to lawmakers that the top officer on the scene of Greene’s death should face criminal charges for "covering up" his body camera footage.

Both federal and state authorities withheld Lt. John Clary’s video for several months. AP records show that Clary is still the focus of federal investigations, even though he was cleared by state police of wrongdoing.

Federal prosecutors will soon decide whether Clary and other defendants should be charged. The case is being heard by a grand jury in Shreveport.

Paxton, who has just retired from the state police and gave his most detailed public account to date of the case, said, "It's not my word." "It's the evidence."

AP obtained a use-of force report that indicated Greene was pepper-sprayed during his arrest. Davis testified Tuesday that he knew Greene was being sprayed.

According to law enforcement officials familiar, federal authorities are skeptical that they will be able to prove pepper-spray was used during an arrest. They spoke under anonymity to discuss ongoing federal investigations.

The pepper spray has been a focus of federal prosecutors in recent months. This is to show that the troopers acted "willfully", which is a component of the federal accusations authorities are looking into, according to law enforcement officials.

The agency's second in command, Cain, told lawmakers Tuesday that he is being investigated for having his phone "sanitized" -- meaning all data was erased -- during the ongoing federal investigation. Cain stated that he was barred from answering panel questions regarding the phone wiping by an internal inquiry.

Cain stated, "I have no to hide." "I did nothing wrong."

Triet Le, another police officer, admitted wiping Cain’s phone and the phones of two top commanders at Greene’s time. He said he didn't know about policies and laws that prohibited such actions. Le claimed he doesn't have the phones anymore because internal affairs investigators took them Monday, just before he was due to testify.

Magee stated, "I believe this IA investigation to be malarkey."


 

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