Journalist for police chief cites Ronald Greene's death as early anger

After the 2019 murder of Ronald Greene, body-camera footage showed white troopers beating, dragging and killing the Black motorist.

Journalist for police chief cites Ronald Greene's death as early anger

After the 2019 murder of Ronald Greene, body-camera footage showed white troopers beating, dragging and killing the Black motorist. The head of the Louisiana State Police made a grim note in his journal about the case: "Realize there's a problem -- must immediately address."

But well over a year went by -- 462 days to be exact -- before Col. Kevin Reeves opened an internal investigation into the actions of the troopers involved, including one who was recorded boasting he "beat the ever-living f(asterisk)(asterisk)k out of" Greene.

Reeves released eleven pages from his three journals on Thursday to comply with a subpoena by a legislative committee investigating a possible case-related cover-up. The panel's chairman stated that the troubling questions raised in those few pages were sufficient to require Reeves to turn over his entire journal collection. He also threatened with contempt charges if Reeves didn't.

"The documents show that Colonel Reeves recognized the issue early and considered possible solutions but didn't," Republican state Rep. Tanner Magee stated. "This committee sought to determine why."

Although the handwritten pages can be difficult to read, notes dating just 12 days after Greene died are clear. They include a list of possible responses to the case, including suspending or placing administrative leave on officers, opening an internal probe, and performing a video audit on Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth. Hollingsworth boasted that he had beat Greene and had a history turning off his body camera video.

Reeves, who called Greene's death "awful, but lawful", resigned in 2020 amid criticism and has attempted to minimize his involvement in the case.

Lewis Unglesby, his attorney, stated that the Greene delays "are not at Kevin Reeves' feet at all," and it was up to his subordinates, to find out the truth. There is a distinction between "This is what I want you to do" and "I'm going .'''to do it."

The death of Greene, May 10, 2019, has been shrouded with secrecy since the beginning. Authorities told grieving family members and submitted initial reports that Greene died in a car accident at the end a high-speed chase close to Monroe.

Last year, the Associated Press obtained long-held body-camera footage that showed what actually happened. Troopers surrounded Greene's vehicle, shocking him repeatedly, punching his head, dragging him with his ankle shackles, and leaving him on the ground for over nine minutes. Greene could sometimes be heard crying out for mercy and saying, "I'm Your Brother!" I'm scared! I'm scared."

On the three-year mark of Greene's passing, despite an investigation by the federal civil rights agency, and a separate investigation by the state criminal investigation and the legislative investigation, no charges have been brought against anyone.

In February, a bipartisan legislative committee was formed to address an AP report Reeves had sent to Gov. John Bel Edwards was informed within hours by troopers who had arrested Greene in a violent, prolonged struggle. Yet, the Democrat remained silent for the next two years, as state troopers raised the car accident theory. This was later disproved by an FBI-commissioned autopsy.

According to the governor, he waited to speak out about troopers' actions -- even though he had privately viewed graphic body camera footage of their arrest -- due to an ongoing federal investigation. Since then, he has called the actions taken by the troopers criminal and racist.

The eight-member legislative panel has been conducting interviews with state police officers and other officials for weeks in an effort to reconstruct the agency’s handling of this case. One senior official from the state police stated that he was "mystified” that no troopers had been charged with criminal offenses last week. A ranking official called Greene's death a "complete disregard for human life"

Although Edwards has been told by lawmakers that they will investigate and determine when it was, no one from his staff has been summoned to testify.

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