We didn’t do much of anything about the case of Ronald Greene, a Monroe-area barber who died after he fled from the Louisiana State Police on country roads in Union Parish near the Arkansas state line back in May of 2019, because at the time our understanding of the case was that Greene had died of injuries sustained when he crashed his vehicle into a tree. There was a small bit of rumbling about the Greene case in political activist circles on the Left, but we figured that if the usual suspects weren’t fired up about what happened to him there wasn’t much to comment on.
Well, that understanding doesn’t hold anymore. Based on the clips we’ve seen from body-camera video taken at the scene of Greene’s death, this one looks a lot worse than George Floyd, Alton Sterling, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner or Daunte Wright. And all we can do is question why there was no hue and cry about it like there has been for all of those cases.
Louisiana state troopers can be seen on a dark roadside stunning, punching and dragging a Black man as he apologizes for leading them on a high-speed chase — body camera video of the moments leading up to the man’s death that The Associated Press obtained after authorities refused to release it for two years.
“I’m your brother! I’m scared! I’m scared!” Ronald Greene can be heard telling the white troopers as the unarmed man is jolted repeatedly with a stun gun before he even gets out of his car.
The 2019 arrest outside Monroe is the subject of a federal civil rights investigation. But unlike other in-custody deaths across the nation where body camera video was released almost immediately, Greene’s case has been shrouded in secrecy and accusations of a cover-up.
Louisiana officials have rebuffed repeated calls to release footage and details about what caused the 49-year-old’s death. Troopers initially told Greene’s family he died on impact after crashing into a tree during the chase. Later, State Police released a one-page statement acknowledging only that Greene struggled with troopers and died on his way to the hospital.
Maybe there’s body-cam footage we haven’t seen which shows a struggle. If he wasn’t cooperative enough for the troopers, our guess is that had a lot to do with the fact they tased him even before they got him out of the car, then they tased him again when they got him on the ground. If he wanted to cooperate with them, which he repeatedly declared was the case, it would have been less possible given the condition they had put him in.
And from the footage we’ve seen, this wasn’t a situation like the Floyd case, in which the “victim” was in the process of dying of a drug overdose. Greene sounded pretty lucid. We don’t know if he was drunk or high, but he certainly wasn’t speaking gibberish like Floyd was when the Minneapolis cops arrested him.
Greene wails “I’m sorry!” as another trooper delivers another stun gun shock to his backside and warns, “Look, you’re going to get it again if you don’t put your f——- hands behind your back!” Another trooper can be seen briefly dragging the man facedown after his legs had been shackled and his hands cuffed behind him.
Instead of rendering aid, the troopers leave the burly man unattended, facedown and moaning for more than nine minutes, as they use sanitizer wipes to wash blood off their hands and faces.
“I hope this guy ain’t got f—— AIDS,” one of the troopers can be heard saying.
After a several-minute stretch in which Greene is not seen on camera, he appears again, limp, unresponsive and bleeding from his head and face. He is then loaded onto an ambulance gurney, his arm cuffed to the bedrail.
In many parts of the video, Greene is not on screen, and the trooper appears to cut the microphone off about halfway through, making it difficult to piece together exactly what was happening at all times. At least six troopers were on the scene of the arrest but not all had their body cameras on.
In one clip from the footage, they’ve got his legs shackled and he’s lying face down, and one trooper comes along and grabs the chain between his ankles and drags him what looks like five or six feet so his stomach and face are scraping on the ground. We don’t claim to be experts in police procedure but we’re pretty sure that’s not in the handbook.
The trooper doing the dragging’s name is Kory York. He got a 50-hour suspension from the Louisiana State Police.
Two others at the scene were Trooper Dakota DeMoss and Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth. Neither are on the force anymore.
Greene, a barber, failed to pull over for an unspecified traffic violation shortly after midnight on May 10, 2019, about 30 miles south of the Arkansas state line. That’s where the video obtained by AP begins, with Trooper Dakota DeMoss chasing Greene’s SUV on rural highways at over 115 mph.
Seconds before the chase ended, DeMoss warned on his radio: “We got to do something. He’s going to kill somebody.”
As DeMoss and Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth rush Greene’s SUV, he can be seen appearing to raise his hands and saying over and over, “OK, OK. I’m sorry.”
Hollingsworth shocks Greene with a stun gun within seconds through the driver’s side window as both troopers demand he get out of the vehicle.
Greene exits through the passenger side as the troopers wrestle him to the ground. One trooper can be heard saying “He’s grabbing me” as they try to handcuff him. “Put your hands behind your back, bitch,” one trooper says.
Hollingsworth strikes Greene multiple times and appears to lie on one of his arms before he is finally handcuffed.
Hollingsworth, in a separate recording obtained by AP, can be heard telling a colleague at the office that “he beat the ever-living f— out of” Greene.
“Choked him and everything else trying to get him under control,” Hollingsworth is heard saying. “He was spitting blood everywhere, and all of a sudden he just went limp.”
DeMoss, meanwhile, was arrested in connection with a separate police pursuit last year in which he and two other troopers allegedly used excessive force while handcuffing a motorist.
Exactly what caused Greene’s death remains unclear. Union Parish Coroner Renee Smith told AP last year his death was ruled accidental and attributed to cardiac arrest. Smith, who was not in office when that determination was made, said her office’s file on Greene attributed his death to a car crash and made no mention of a struggle with State Police.
The AP last year also obtained a medical report showing an emergency room doctor noted Greene arrived dead at the hospital, bruised and bloodied with two stun-gun prongs in his back. That led the doctor to question troopers’ initial account that Greene had “died on impact” after crashing into a tree.
“Does not add up,” the doctor wrote.
Col. Kevin Reeves was the head of the Louisiana State Police. They let him retire last year without there even being much controversy over the Ronald Greene case. And John Bel Edwards let Greene’s family see all this video but said he wasn’t going to release it until the federal investigation was over.
The federal investigation still isn’t over and the State Police still hasn’t released the video. It leaked to the Associated Press.
Last night this stuff finally started to get some coverage in the Louisiana legacy media. We’d like to point out that this incident happened in May of 2019, which was nearly six months before the 2019 election.
And there was zero coverage of the incident in 2019. Like we said above, our impression was that Greene decided to do a Smokey and the Bandit impression but found out he was no Burt Reynolds and died in a car wreck as a result. Later we found out that was questionable, but the full scope of what happened on that desolate roadside is only now coming out.
Which smells an awful lot like a coverup that Louisiana’s legacy media happily assisted in.
Because had John Bel Edwards been a Republican governor, and had the Republican governor’s state police beaten a black man who wasn’t a wanted criminal or a suspect in a felony reported to the police – Greene fled from a traffic stop, that’s it – to death on a roadside, it would have been the kind of scandal that a forced retirement of the State Police commandant couldn’t have put to bed. You’d have had riots and looting, you’d have had Ben Crump press conferences and Joy Reid declaring Jim Crow is alive and well in Louisiana.
You’d have had all of those things.
What’s more, some of that would have been justified. It’s justified now. All Louisianans, black or white, should be furious that our employees would behave in such ways while on our dime. The new head of the State Police says there’s no systemic racism on the force, and that’s supposed to make us feel better, but it doesn’t – because what he’s then saying is that any one of us can be beaten to death on a roadside as we’re trying to apologize for making a stupid decision to try to escape a traffic stop for an expired brake tag or failing to use a turn signal.
As taxpayers we’re disgusted at this, because Greene’s family is going to end up with generational wealth at our expense thanks to the LSP brute squad who killed him, and we’re already paying more than enough in taxes to fund a state government which gives us a pitiful product for its price.
We’ll have to give credit to the black community in Monroe and surrounding areas, which is not radicalized like others in the state and managed to refrain from burning the city down as a result of the Greene case. Maybe that had to do with the fact the local law enforcement folks had nothing to do with this disgrace, but those kinds of distinctions haven’t been made in other cases. It reflects well on North Louisiana that civility has ruled.
The problem is that without the riots and looting, the legacy media in this state just buried the Ronald Greene case until after the election, and then they buried it some more while they whipped everyone up into a frenzy over COVID last year. And Edwards, who you’ll remember corrupted the State Police on his way to winning election the first time, benefited from both.
As voters, of course, we’re also disgusted at this. John Bel Edwards got more black votes in Louisiana than Barack Obama did, six months after his state police beat a non-violent, non-criminal black man to death on a roadside for running from a traffic stop in a case which makes a better Black Lives Matter argument than Michael Brown, Rayshard Brooks or
If he was a Republican there would be calls for his resignation over the case. He certainly wouldn’t have been re-elected after the scandal the media would have made Ronald Greene’s death into. Why the citizens of Louisiana tolerate this kind of double standard is beyond us. It ought to make blood boil and change happen.