'It is criminal': Activists, lawyers demand charges against Louisiana troopers in Ronald Greene's 2019 death

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Speakers at a Thursday rally demanded charges be filed against Louisiana state troopers who stunned, punched, choked and dragged Ronald Greene before his May 2019 death.

“Stay clear and focused on what this is: We want every trooper involved in this incident to be terminated immediately. And then after the termination, we want every single trooper involved in this incident to be arrested. And then we want them to be charged,” Judy Reese Morse, president and CEO of the Urban League of Louisiana, said outside the Louisiana state capitol building.

Greene, 49, died after his arrest outside of Monroe. Louisiana State Police released body camera and dash camera footage of the incident last Friday after The Associated Press published videos of Greene's arrest earlier in the week.

State police Capt. Nick Manale said in an email that the troopers involved “have already received internal discipline while awaiting the results of the federal review.” He said the state police force continues to cooperate in the investigation and is “confident in the judicial system and fair review of this incident.”

Alanah Odoms, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana, said at the rally that the troopers' actions showed they didn't believe in the justice system: "Those officers had no faith in the laws of this land ... they had no faith in the Constitution."

Odoms and other speakers connected Greene's death with numerous other cases, including Trayford Pellerin, a Black man fatally shot outside a Louisiana gas station by police on Aug. 21.

Demonstrators rally outside the Louisiana governor's mansion on Thursday, protesting the death of Ronald Greene, who died in the custody of Louisiana State Police in 2019.
Demonstrators rally outside the Louisiana governor's mansion on Thursday, protesting the death of Ronald Greene, who died in the custody of Louisiana State Police in 2019.

An attorney representing Greene's family called the release of bodycam footage two years after Greene's death a "game changer."

"The public now sees why we've been saying something is wrong," Ron Haley told USA TODAY. "They see the inhumanity, the brutality and the reckless indifference of Ronnie's life."

Troopers initially told the family Greene died on impact after crashing during a high-speed chase, Haley said. Later, state police said in a statement Greene struggled with troopers and died on his way to a hospital.

State police did not open an administrative investigation into the troopers’ use of force until 474 days after Greene’s death.

Haley also spoke during Thursday's rally, calling for charges against the officers: “Let’s call this what it is – it is criminal,” Haley said. “The world saw on those nine videos that were released how Ronnie Green died. … Did it look like a damn car accident?”

“What did it look like?” he asked the crowd.

“Murder,” came the response.

Greene's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit about a year ago, Haley said. Greene's death is the subject of a federal civil rights investigation.

'I'm your brother! I'm scared': Ronald Greene's death raises hard questions about Louisiana police officers' conduct

Alana Wilson, Greene's sister, said the family is going to continue to investigate what happened to Greene.

"This has literally torn our family apart, we will never be the same," Wilson said. "We're going to continue to look under every stone that they've covered up."

Lt. John Clary, the ranking Louisiana State Police officer at the scene of the deadly arrest, falsely told internal investigators Greene was still a threat to flee after he was shackled, and he denied the existence of his own bodycam video for nearly two years, according to police records obtained by The Associated Press.

Trooper Kory York was suspended without pay for 50 hours for dragging Greene and for improperly deactivating his body camera.

Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth died in a single-vehicle highway crash hours after he learned he would be fired for his role in the Greene case.

Trooper Dakota DeMoss was arrested in connection with a separate police pursuit last year in which he and two other troopers allegedly used excessive force while handcuffing a motorist.

State Police Superintendent Lamar Davis said last Friday he could not comment on the conduct of the troopers because of pending investigations. Davis said policies and procedures have been implemented within the department to prevent similar incidents from happening again.

Odoms vowed to continue pressuring for state and federal charges against the officers involved in Greene’s case.

“Ronald Greene had a family … and his family is not going to stop fighting for justice.”

Contributing: Ashley White and William Taylor Potter, Lafayette Daily Advertiser; Ian Robinson, Monroe News-Star; The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ronald Greene death: Louisiana troopers should face charges: activists

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