Throughout 2020, Black Lives Matter activists have protested police brutality around the globe.
FBI Probes Louisiana Death During Arrest
There is another news story.
There is another controversial death of an African-American while in police custody or after an encounter with police officers.
“This has gutted our family,” said Mona Hardin, mother of Ronald Greene. “How do people live with themselves after doing something like this?”
The death of a Louisiana man after a chase and attempted apprehension in a rural town has led federal authorities to open an investigation, according to the Associated Press.
The federal investigation comes after Louisiana State Police declined to turn over police body camera video after a May 2019 chase north of Monroe, La. ended in Greene’s death.
Louisiana state troopers said the chase began after Ronald Greene, 49, refused to stop for a traffic violation.
Greene’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit last year alleging the state police “brutalized” him, which “left him, beaten, bloodied and in cardiac arrest.”
The family also alleged that the state police covered up Greene’s actual cause of death.
His family members said that police initially said Ronald Greene died after hitting a tree in his automobile.
However, they failed to admit that there was a “struggle” before his death.
Union Parish, La. coroner Renee Smith said that Greene’s death was ruled accidental and the result of cardiac arrest.
However, Smith said her office files attributes Ronald Greene’s death to a car crash, and fails to make mention of any physical struggle.
Smith was not in the office when the cause of death was determined.
According to the family’s lawsuit, witnesses say that officers pinned Ronald Greene down to the ground, used a Taser on him even after he had apologized for leading them on a chase.
Hardin said she and her relatives have been unable to grieve because they have so many unanswered questions about his death.
The grieving mother said Ronald Greene was a well-liked barber who had a “giving spirit.”
She said her son lived in West Monroe, La.
The Louisiana State Police has been mired in controversy amidst misconduct cases over the last few years.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards called it “unacceptable” that a trooper did not face discipline after a recording showed him using racial slurs earlier this month.
Now, the Louisiana State Police has to endure more controversy because of the alleged mishandling of Greene’s death.
“The public has a right to know what happened to Mr. Greene that day, and the concealing of all this information by the Louisiana State Police is not only disgusting but immoral,” said Eugene W. Collins, president of the Baton Rouge, La. chapter of the NAACP.
Capt. Chavez Cammon, the Louisiana State Police spokesperson said the agency is “cooperating with federal officials” in the case surrounding Greene’s death.
Additionally, Cammon said that the Louisiana State Police is conducting its own internal investigation into the matter.
Speaking to the Associated Press anonymously, two law enforcement officials said Louisiana State Police are investigation whether or not a trooper turned off his body camera during the arrest of Ronald Greene.
Spokesperson Shauna Sanford wrote in an email that Gov. Edwards “is aware of the investigation and expects that there will be a comprehensive and fair evaluation of the facts. [However,] he has not seen the video.”
Not believing the alleged cause of death, Greene’s family has hired civil rights attorney Lee Merritt to represent the family during this investigation.
Merritt said, “The physical evidence we’ve been able to review is inconsistent with the manner of death that they’ve described.”
Although local prosecutors have not brought criminal charges against the officers allegedly involved, they have referred Greene’s death to the United States Justice Department for a civil investigation.
When asked for a comment, Union Parish, La. District Attorney John Belton said it would be “inappropriate for me to comment because of the ongoing federal investigation.”
State police have released very little information about the chase and death that occurred after midnight on May 10, 2019, approximately 30 miles south of the Arkansas state line.
The report showed that Greene refused to stop for the state troopers and a chase ensued.
“Green was taken into custody after resisting arrest and a struggle with the troopers,” the report noted.
Before dying on the way to the hospital, Ronald Greene “became unresponsive.”
The report made no mention of use of force.
Greene’s family does not believe that a crash caused his death because their lawsuit says the automobile “did not make impact with a tree and his airbag did not deploy.”
Furthermore, they say Ronald Greene did not suffer injuries from the crash, could walk and function after the accident.
The lawsuit alleges that the autopsy discovered cuts and “blunt-force injuries” to Greene’s head.
“Obviously the body cam footage is crucial,” said Mark Maguire, a lawyer from Philadelphia also representing the family.
The lawsuit alleges that troopers Tased Ronald Green three times.
The suit alleges, “Two officers pinned Greene down on the ground while he screamed, ‘oh my god.’ Greene was moaning, begging the officers to stop and repeatedly saying, ‘I’m sorry.’”
Merritt said, “We’ve spoken to people who have seen the video, and it’s very difficult to watch. It reflects clear constitutional violations and policy violations.”
Attorney Ron Haley, who is helping with the case, said it looks like a cover-up to him.
“It takes them an extremely long time to come up with the same conclusion that they want to come up with,” Haley said. “They will find any type of way to justify the behavior no matter how egregious it is.”