Hopefully, soon we’ll get a list of witnesses the recently-formed legislative committee charged with investigating the killing of Ronald Greene and its cover-up plans to call.
A quote given to WBRZ by one of the committee members, Baton Rouge Democrat Edmond Jordan, is an indication of what that committee might come up with.
The TV station, which has been the media organ in Louisiana with by far the most interest in actual journalism surrounding the Greene case and cover-up, has a story up quoting a couple of experts on just how ugly it is that Doug Cain, the No. 2 man at the Louisiana State Police, had his phone wiped of all records while the investigation was going on.
“The period for maintaining public records is three years so when you destroy or sanitize a phone those are public records and that’s a violation of state law,” said Rafael Goyeneche, a corruption watchdog and former prosecutor. “It’s even more troubling when it’s the chief law enforcement agency of Louisiana.”
Retired Legislative Auditor Darryl Purpera also echoed those sentiments.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit exposed last week that State Police’s No. 2 man, Doug Cain, got his phone wiped one year after Ronald Greene died. Initially, State Police did not want to provide a date of when that happened, claiming the agency kept no records. However, WBRZ asked State Police to check with Cain, who estimated it happened in February 2020. That month is significant because it’s the same month that the FBI received the case notes from the Ronald Greene investigation.
Then came Jordan.
“It’s very problematic that Doug Cain had his phone wiped,” State Representative Edmond Jordan told WBRZ last week. “I will tell you, in light of the revelations of the text messages that were exposed by you guys last week, that is a real possibility that at minimum he should be placed on leave.”
Jordan said he also asked about the sanitization of cell phones at State Police around the same time the WBRZ Investigative Unit began asking questions. Jordan said the order came from the top.
“Kevin Reeves and Faye Morrison,” Jordan responded when asked who gave the order.
So if Jordan, who’s on the committee, is publicly telling WBRZ that it was the commander of the State Police and the general counsel for the Louisiana Department of Public Safety who ordered Cain’s phone to be scrubbed of all its data, something that Morrison as the State Police’s top lawyer had to know would fall into the category of spoliation of evidence, we are going to have some fun testimony in that inquiry.
Faye Morrison got demoted last summer, by the way. She didn’t get the golden-parachute retirement that Reeves got back in October of 2020. Nor did she get the cushy job as head of the state gaming board Reeves’ chief of staff Mike Noel was given, at least until last spring when it became apparent Noel was going to get asked about the cover-up of the Greene killing during his confirmation hearing; he quit the job rather than face that music.
Instead she’s just another civil service lawyer working at DPS for a six-figure salary, which is nice but not the lofty perch she had before it got too hot in the kitchen.
Is Faye Morrison pissed about that? Is she pissed enough to testify in front of that committee and burn down the people above her on the totem pole?
One might imagine that Reeves is happy enough in his retirement that he’d clam up. It’s hard to say what Noel or Cain might offer to the committee.
And then there’s the federal investigation, which most assuredly will apply some heat to all of these people. It might be a good idea for Louisiana’s congressional delegation to start goosing the feds to make sure they keep their probe moving. John Kennedy, particularly, who’s on the Senate Judiciary Committee, might want to get vocal about it – particularly since his most notable opponent Gary Chambers, whose entire reason for being was to protest the racism and brutality of the police right up until he started raising money to run for the Senate and the Greene case popped, now has nothing whatsoever to say.
We’ve also seen that John Bel Edwards, to whom this always comes back when the old Roman question cui bono is asked, is more than willing to throw the underlings down the well. The entire point of the cover-up wouldn’t have been to save Reeves or Cain or Morrison or Noel, or any of the people at Troop F of the State Police who was responsible for the Greene mess. Everybody would have to know those guys are all expendable at the end of the day.
No, you cover this case up because it happened in May of 2019, just five months before Edwards was up for re-election in what looked like a very dicey contest against Ralph Abraham and Eddie Rispone. And if the two Republicans had an issue like the State Police beating a non-criminal black motorist to death on a roadside to flog Edwards with in front of the black community, the necessary turnout to save Edwards’ re-election would never materialize.
And given Edwards’ corruption of the State Police and the likely response to that sleaze a new governor would insist on, meaning that most of the top brass at the LSP would be run off and changed out in an effort to clean up that agency, anything these guys could do to save Edwards would be worth their while.
But now that all of this is out in the open and Edwards is a lame duck, one wonders: has the equation changed?
That’s what we’re going to find out when this inquiry gets rolling.