If you didn’t catch WBRZ-TV’s Chris Nakamoto’s latest report on the Ronald Greene case, you really ought to give it a look. The facade is beginning to crack, and soon we’re likely to find out just how high the corruption surrounding the Greene case goes.
Our bet is that will go all the way to the top.
Nakamoto’s investigation took a significant jump yesterday, as a whistleblower for the Louisiana State Police came forward and provided notes from the original investigator of the Greene case. For those not following these proceedings, Greene was a barber, not a criminal, who ran a red light and then failed to stop when hailed by local police in Union Parish. He ended up leading local cops and state troopers on a brief high-speed chase before hitting a tree. Greene was repeatedly tased and beaten to death on a roadside, but the official police report was written to say he died from injuries sustained in the crash.
Clearly not everybody bought into the lie, though it’s taken two years for the truth to begin trickling out.
The case notes and an unprecedented interview with a state trooper shed more light into the behind-the-scenes effort to try to spin Greene’s death away from Louisiana State Police. In the interview, an active state trooper discussed what he believes to be cover-ups that kept his colleagues from facing arrest after Greene’s death.
Greene died after an encounter with troopers in Troop F, which covers northeast Louisiana and is headquartered in Monroe. State Police were in pursuit of Greene who was behind the wheel of a small car when it crashed and troopers placed him into custody.
Greene is heard on troopers’ body cameras exclaiming “I’m sorry” and “I’m scared” as he was detained by State Police. Video later showed Greene alive after the crash and is seen being accosted by troopers. In a leaked audio recording, one trooper is heard saying “I beat the ever-living f*** out of him.”
Amid a series of WBRZ Investigative Unit reports on Greene’s death, State Police memos and the reassignment of a top agency attorney, the trooper who wanted to be interviewed for the latest story said it was time he shared what he said was the truth.
“I love what I do,” trooper Carl Cavalier said in an interview first seen on WBRZ News 2 at 6:00 Tuesday evening. He continued, “but we still have murderers, in my eyes, on the job. Guys who received a slap on the wrist for their roles in the Ronald Greene incident are unpunished… patrolling the streets and left on the job.”
Cavalier really brought the goods to his interview with Nakamoto. The notes of state trooper Albert Paxton, who investigated the case but was clearly sidelined, shed a whole lot of light on this issue…
May 17, 2019… Albert Paxton writes, “We felt we should arrest Hollingsworth.” That was seven days after Ronald Greene’s death.
On May 27, 2019… at a golf tournament. Colonel Kevin Reeves is approached about this. “[Someone else] tells Colonel Reeves our concerns and makes him aware of the case. Colonel Reeves says we can’t arrest troopers for turning off cameras because it will set a precedent.”
Two months later… Paxton notes that ranking State Police brass “want to argue the crash killed him.”
The District Attorney in Lincoln and Union Parishes John Belton meets with investigators on September 9, 2019… “We show him the video and go over the entire case. Mr. Belton says the video is the worst thing he has ever seen.”
Now this thing is officially touching Kevin Reeves, the former state police superintendent who was allowed to quietly retire last fall. Reeves’ chief of staff Mike Noel was appointed the head of the state gaming board at around the same time; Noel resigned in May rather than face a confirmation hearing at which it was expected he’d be grilled by state senators over the Greene case.
Paxton’s notes as produced by Cavalier, coupled with what’s already known about the treatment of Reeves and Noel, lead us to a very obvious conclusion it’ll be interesting to see if Nakamoto achieves.
Which is that the cover-up goes higher than Reeves.
That’s only logical, isn’t it? If you’re the governor and it’s more than a year after this incident happened, it’s pretty clear that Reeves has squelched an investigation into the Greene affair, you don’t just pack him off to his pension and his gold watch. The move would be that you fire Reeves, publicly, and throw him under the bus over the Greene case and the cover-up.
And you certainly don’t give his chief of staff one of the cushiest gigs in all of state government.
Unless, of course, you know that Reeves and Noel were being good soldiers.
When it comes to things like this, you always ask the Romans’ question. Cui bono? Who benefits? Who does this cover-up serve?
The troopers involved in killing Greene, obviously. But none of those guys ended up coming out ahead. Gary Hollingsworth is dead. He drove his cruiser into a bridge support when he found out he was going to be fired. The others are in various stages of having been suspended or fired, facing criminal charges and so forth. Of course, it was well more than a year before any of those consequences began coming down.
And who benefits from the lag time?
Who was in a position to orchestrate this whole thing, and then to benefit from it?
Remember, May of 2019, when this thing happened, was a few months before a gubernatorial election. That election was expected to be close, and John Bel Edwards was in grave danger of losing it. He needed a massive turnout of the black vote if he was going to get re-elected. And if the Ronald Greene case was widely known that massive black vote would not have been available to him.
So the Greene incident never saw the light of day. The official story prevailed for a year that Greene died when he hit that tree even though the DA saw the video.
By the way, when that video which he had already seen made it into the public eye, here was Belton’s quote to a local newspaper…
“It is of the utmost importance that the Ronald Greene family and our community, as a whole, be provided complete and truthful answers about what happened to him,” Belton wrote.
“For our justice system to properly function, citizens must have trust and confidence in the justice process. To ensure an independent investigation into the death of Mr. Greene, on the day I received the report from the Louisiana State Police, I asked the United States Department of Justice to conduct an independent review of the circumstances surrounding his death, including whether any criminal or civil rights violations occurred.
“To date, the federal investigation is ongoing. Ethically, I am prevented from making any extrajudicial comments while this matter is under investigation. Furthermore, the United States Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana has asked that I make no comments regarding the merits and investigation of the case. My office will await the conclusion of the federal investigation before making any further comment or decisions in this case.”
Oh – and by the way, Belton is also saying he’s planning on running for Attorney General of Louisiana in 2023. Because sitting on a murder case for two years and laying it off on the feds when you knew exactly what happened is a great resume-builder for statewide office.
There are lots of questions somebody might ask of John Belton. Like, for example, whether he was asked to play possum on this investigation until after Edwards won re-election.
And what he might have been offered in order to agree to that plan.
Belton just held a fundraiser for his 2023 statewide campaign, by the way, and a whole host of district attorneys around the state threw in for him. Including Jason Williams, the uber-leftist DA from New Orleans.
Belton isn’t even a registered Democrat, interestingly enough. He’s an independent. That doesn’t really matter.
Now – is Belton wrong about the feds’ involvement precluding him from being able to do anything now? No. He’s right about that. What we don’t know is when the feds jumped in. As we understand this, though we could well be wrong, it was 2020 before the FBI started an investigation into the Greene matter, meaning that Belton would have had a window of his own discretion during which he chose not to move on the case.
Louisiana Voice, which has been following the Greene case for a long time, noted a number of discrepancies here which indicate confusion, at best, if not the presence of a cover-up from the very beginning…
- Greene’s family was initially told by police that Greene had died after hitting a tree;
- A call for Emergency Medical Services concealed the face that lethal force had been used;
- The police report failed to indicate the use of force;
- Officers claimed that Greene was intoxicated before leaning that a toxicology exam found no alcohol or drugs in Greene’s system;
- Greene’s body was transported out of state for an autopsy, thereby denying the family’s right to have a representative observe the autopsy;
- An emergency room physician at Glenwood Hospital in West Monroe said, “Upon obtaining more history from different law enforcement, personnel, history seems to be disjointed and does not add up. Different versions are present…family states they were told by law enforcement that patient died on impact with tree immediately after motor vehicle accident, but law enforcement state(ed) to me that patient far out of the car and running and involved in a fight and struggle where…he was tased three times.”
Nakamoto is going to keep digging on this. Our bet is that he ultimately uncovers a connection to the Fourth Floor. And then the question is going to be whether this is actionable by the feds, the DA or the Attorney General’s office as to whether malfeasance was involved in covering up what happened to Ronald Greene.