Louisiana police release body camera footage in deadly arrest of Ronald Greene
(UNION PARISH, La.) — More than two years after Ronald Greene died while in police custody, Louisiana State Police have released hours of video evidence related to his arrest.
The videos show state troopers punching and using a stun gun on Greene, a 49-year-old Black man, after he crashed his car following a pursuit in northern Louisiana on May 10, 2019.
“It’s unfortunate that the path to get here today has taken this long, but we’re at a point where we can hopefully provide you some information and offer some insight into the processes and developments as to the case, and our department,” Louisiana State Police Col. Lamar Davis said during a press briefing Friday evening announcing the release of the footage. “Some evidence has been released to the media without the approval of LSP, and that evidence is now being provided to the public in its full capacity and context.”
Davis, who took over the agency in October, could not comment on the conduct of the officers in the arrest, which is the subject of state and federal criminal investigations, including a civil rights investigation by the FBI.
Greene’s family also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Louisiana State Police last year. The family said authorities initially told them that Greene, who had failed to stop for a traffic violation, died when his car crashed into a tree or shrub. The family had disputed the initial police report, which did not mention the use of force by the troopers, and previously released photos of Greene from after the incident showing what appeared to be multiple bruises and lacerations around his face and head.
The video footage, which includes body-worn camera footage from four troopers, is being released in consultation with the U.S. attorney’s office and the Union Parish District Attorney’s Office.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, who, along with Greene’s family, reviewed the body camera footage in October, said he “strongly” supported releasing it to the public.
“As I’ve said before, I found the full video of Mr. Greene’s arrest, which I reviewed last year, to be disturbing and difficult to watch,” the governor said in a statement.
In the body camera footage, Greene can be heard apologizing and saying “I’m scared” as troopers punch him. One trooper can be heard calling Greene a “stupid motherf—–” while they handcuff him.
After he is handcuffed while lying on the ground, Greene remains on his stomach for several minutes. At one point, a trooper can be seen dragging him by his ankle shackles.
One trooper, Chris Hollingsworth, can be heard while sitting in a squad car saying, “I beat the ever-living f— out of him,” and, “Choked him and everything else trying to get him under control.”
An autopsy report by the Union Parish Coroner’s Office obtained by ABC News found blunt force injury to Greene’s head, neck and torso. The cause of death was listed as “cocaine induced agitated delirium complicated by motor vehicle collision, physical struggle, inflicted head injury and restraint.”
Following an investigation by the department, Hollingsworth was terminated for reasons including use of force and conduct unbecoming an officer, though he died in a car crash before he was fired.
Another trooper, Kory York, was suspended for 50 hours and returned to active duty, Davis said.
A third trooper, Dakota DeMoss, has been notified of the department’s intent to terminate him and remains on leave pending the outcome of a separate excessive use-of-force investigation, Davis said.
“You have my commitment that we will follow the facts and hold our personnel accountable,” Davis said.
In an interview with “Good Morning America” this week, Greene’s mother expressed frustration with the lengthy investigation.
“Why do we have to go so long to get the people who are responsible for this to be held accountable?” Mona Hardin said. “They allow us to suffer.”
She said the family feels Greene’s presence.
“There’s so much love for Ronnie,” she said. “The fact that he’s not here, it’s something that we’ll never get used to.”
ABC News’ Luke Barr, Sabina Ghebremedhin and Matt Foster contributed to this report.
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