WBRZ’s Chris Nakamoto is now nosing around the Ronald Greene case. We’ll see if his investigations turn up anything juicy. What we know is the Louisiana State Police’s Troop F stuck with the fiction for a good long time that Greene died from running his vehicle into a tree rather than being beaten to death on a roadside.
Attorneys representing the Ronald Greene family said emails obtained by the WBRZ Investigative Unit show a coverup continued at Louisiana State Police even after questions surrounding his death came to light.
Emails published by the WBRZ Investigative Unit Friday showed that Troop F Commander John Peters wrote to the department’s head attorney, Faye Morrison, claiming Greene died in a crash.
Those emails are dated from November 2020, exactly three weeks after the Greene family was invited to Monroe to watch the body camera videos from state police’s encounter with Greene.
Attorney Ron Haley was with the family during the viewing.
“I think it is inconceivable that you could sit there and look at Mona Harding’s face and her daughter and say you are sorry, and then three weeks later you are still trying to plot, plan and perpetuate a lie,” Haley said.
In the aftermath, Troop F Commander John Peters emailed lead agency attorney Faye Morrison. Peters said reconstructionists pulled data from Greene’s car and claimed he died of an aortic rupture caused by 19G’s of force. In his email he claims detectives proved troopers did not cause Greene’s death.
But, the body camera eventually released of the incident showed Greene alive and talking after the wreck.
The interesting thing about all of this to us is that these emails are really after the fact; the fatal incident involving Greene happened in May 2019, and the emails uncovered by WBRZ come 18 months later.
Was it a Troop F cover-up? Did it go all the way to to the top of the State Police? Because it sure looks like it might have, given the way former superintendent Kevin Reeves was able to retire gracefully in October 2020 and Reeves’ chief of staff Mike Noel got appointed to run the state gaming board, at least until legislators planned to grill him about the Greene incident a couple of weeks ago at a confirmation hearing; Noel quit rather than face those questions.
So did it go to the governor’s office?
Why is this question particularly interesting? Well, May 2019 was a few months before Gov. John Bel Edwards was up for re-election and he was not a heavy favorite to survive at the polls. But Edwards did manage to win, mostly on the strength of a black voter turnout that was even stronger than what Barack Obama was able to manage out of Louisiana.
And if it was known that Edwards’ guys at the State Police had beaten a black man to death on a roadside, he probably doesn’t pull that overwhelming vote out of the black community in November 2019.
Louisiana’s media was awfully tardy in smoking out the Greene case before that election, largely because the victim’s family and the “civil rights” community were awfully quiet about the case and didn’t raise it as an issue. Nor did either Ralph Abraham or Eddie Rispone.
All of which is too bad. Because if the cover-up of the fatal beating of Ronald Greene went all the way to the Fourth Floor, and if it was done for the purposes of his re-election, then Louisiana’s electorate has been defrauded.
But maybe we already knew that. And maybe our voters don’t really care.
Either way, though, the truth needs to come out. We think this ought to be a project for Attorney General Jeff Landry to take on.