Police Abuse

Louisiana Troopers Claimed Ronald Greene Died in a Car Crash. Body Cam Footage Shows a Deadly Beating.

The state has refused to release the video for the past two years, but the Associated Press got its own copy.

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When Ronald Greene, 49, was killed after an encounter with Louisiana state troopers in 2019, the authorities originally told his family he died when his car crashed into a tree during a high-speed chase.

That description turned out to be a lie. In reality, Greene was brutalized by the troopers who pulled him over, tased, beaten up, and even dragged. The initial crash report made no reference to a fight with police, but a medical report from an emergency room doctor documented that Greene's injuries included stun-gun prongs in his back. The injuries did not add up. Though official documentation indicates that Greene died of cardiac arrest, it's actually not fully clear how he died, due to the subsequent secrecy from Louisiana State Police about what happened.

Just over two years later, the Associated Press has obtained 46 minutes of body camera footage recorded by one of the state troopers on the scene and has released clips and described the footage.

Greene did apparently lead troopers in a high-speed chase after they attempted to pull him over for an unspecified traffic violation outside Monroe, Louisiana. The chase did end in a crash, but that's not what killed him. The car only suffered some minor body damage. The body camera footage the A.P. released Wednesday shows troopers approaching Greene's car after the crash, and as Greene attempts to tell the troopers that he's scared, they immediately start tasing him. He is forced down to the ground on his stomach, attacked, and tased repeatedly by the troopers even as he wails apologies.

Greene is handcuffed and then left on his stomach for at least nine minutes, something police use-of-force experts interviewed by the A.P. say cops are specifically taught not to do to avoid suffocating someone. The suspect is supposed to be turned to one side or put in a seated position. At one point in the video, Greene attempts to turn himself to his side, but one of the troopers uses his foot to force him back down on his stomach. After Greene's wrists and ankles are shackled, Trooper Kory York drags him briefly along the ground by his ankles.

There is plenty of vicious profanity, threats, and one trooper can be heard saying "I hope this guy ain't got fucking AIDS." The A.P. hasn't posted the entire body camera recording, but they've posted several different clips showing the extent of the abuse.

The A.P. didn't get the video due to a public release of body camera footage from the Louisiana State Police. In fact, the police still refuse to release any body camera footage and responded to the A.P. with a press statement that "premature public release of investigative files and video evidence in this case is not authorized and…undermines the investigative process and compromises the fair and impartial outcome."

That response might have had more credibility had the troopers not initially lied to the family about the circumstances behind Greene's death and if the state hadn't waited 474 days to open an internal administrative investigation to determine what actually happened. Local prosecutors declined to charge the troopers involved with any crimes, but did refer the incident to the Department of Justice, which is independently investigating the circumstances of Greene's death.

The family filed a wrongful death suit in May 2020 (three months before the Louisiana State Police would actually open its own investigation into Greene's death). Last September one of the troopers involved, Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth, died in a single-car crash just hours after he had been informed he was going to be fired for his role in the incident. After Hollingsworth's death, the A.P. obtained an audio clip of Hollingsworth admitting in a phone conversation with a colleague that he "beat the ever-living fuck out of" Greene. York was suspended without pay for 50 hours.

Note that the discipline came not soon after Greene's death, but after Greene's family started making waves, filing a lawsuit and speaking out to the press about the contradictions in the official story versus what the evidence showed. They were allowed to see the body camera footage of the incident last year, and Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that the footage would be publicly released after the investigation was over.

The entire incident shows why body camera footage can be so valuable. Yes, the emergency room report highlights the suspicious nature of Greene's injuries compared to the official police account, and yes the family was made suspicious when they saw that Greene's car suffered only minor damage from the crash. But absent body camera footage, would anything have come from those suspicions? It took over a year and a lawsuit for the Louisiana State Police to even start investigating its own troopers' behavior.

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  1. The state has refused to release the video for the past two years, but the Associated Press got its own copy.

    Will facebook block this story because it’s the result of ‘hacked information’?

    1. Only if it also contains mean words by Trump.

      1. I’m only being half snarky. This is a good news report. It’s important. It highlights government malfeasance. Its likely this video was the result of an “unauthorized leak”. That’s how investigative journalism works. But Facebook/twitter et. al. have backed themselves into an impossible corner, banning individual news producers and journalists when they acquire information using various back channels– especially when that news or information goes against favored political narratives.

        1. How have they backed themselves into a corner? They openly brag about their hypocracy and their immunity from contractual obligations, and nothing happens to them. This is a serious question from me for once.

          1. How have they backed themselves into a corner?

            By irrevocable loosing the trust of their customer base.

            How many here use Duck Duck Go now? I know I have decreased using Google by about 50% for my searches. A few years ago, they had 100% of my business.

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    3. The proverb is true, metaphorically and literally – a bad apple spoils the whole barrel. If criminal cops are kept on the force, as opposed to being punished as criminals, then why be a good cop …………MORE DETAIL.

    4. I mean it’s a valid criticism but on the list of what this story was about I find it odd your main outrage is the double standard and not the fact that some US Citizen was beaten to death by the cops and they tried to cover it up.

  2. Last September one of the troopers involved, Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth, died in a single-car crash just hours after he had been informed he was going to be fired for his role in the incident.

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    1. Someone should check his brake lines.

      1. Being a cop is a lifestyle and an identity, not a job. They literally do whatever they want because nobody will stop them. They create reality by writing fictional reports and testilying. They assault and murder people for failure to show respect.

        Some of these guys would rather be dead than go back to being little people.

    2. he did it! he did it! it was all him! Investigation complete! Move along, citizen. Nothing the see here.

    3. “…Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth, died in a single-car crash …

      And was that ruled cop suicide by cop or did he get to falsely die a “hero” with all of the funeral accoutrements and financial benefits instead of as the disgraced tyrant thug he was?

      “the A.P. obtained an audio clip of Hollingsworth admitting in a phone conversation with a colleague that he “beat the ever-living fuck out of” Greene.”

      FFS Even cops should never talk to cops.

  3. Cops say this guy died in a car crash. The police report for George Floyd’s death said medical emergency. They were only caught because of video evidence.

    I’m starting to wonder if murder is a right of passage for being a cop in certain departments.

    1. Louisiana has a long and hallowed tradition of the worst kind of open-air police corruption.

  4. Medical report + video evidence = a year and change of jack fucking shit.

  5. Horrors like this are why I can’t simply #backtheblue.

    The proverb is true, metaphorically and literally – a bad apple spoils the whole barrel. If criminal cops are kept on the force, as opposed to being punished as criminals, then why be a good cop?

    A secondary consideration – this is the sort of malarial swamp which breeds BLM “activism.”

    1. A secondary consideration – this is the sort of malarial swamp which breeds BLM “activism.”

      Yet this incident wasn’t a central case for BLM activism. Which makes me thing of what Robert Barnes said about how BLM carefully pick and choose cases to get behind.

    2. Most cops are probably good people. My guess is that many of them would like to see these bad actors removed. I think the real problem in culture comes from the police unions, who fight tooth and nail to prevent almost all discipline against these turds. And who runs the police unions? Former cops, many of whom are ‘former’ for a reason.

      Example: The spokesperson for the St. Louis police union is a former detective who was fired* for a pattern of falsifying evidence.

      *But obviously not prosecuted or anything . . .

      1. “Most cops are probably good people.”

        The unsupported operative word being “probably.”

        Best leave babysitter selection up to your better half.

      2. Unions are made up of cops.

        The senior police force is made up of cops.

        Often the same cops.

        I’m not buying that its all union. I’m not even buying that a police force hemmed in by a union can’t sidetrack a bad apple into an administrative or support position.

      3. probably? so it’s still probably

      4. That’s like the mostly good members of the mafia who only balance the books and don’t break legs personally.

        Any pig who continues to belong to a department that tolerates an instance like this is filthy.

    3. The fact that bad cops are not only tolerated but defended is prima facie evidence that good cops do not exist.

  6. Dance, little outrage monkeys, dance!
    Don’t dare look at the leftist totalitarianism all around you!

    1. So, it’s an either/or choice here?

      If the police are unreformed, cui bono? The left – first they have fuel for their outrage machine, then once they capture control of the police they can use the morally-compromised officers to enforce leftist policies.

      1. No, it’s just another masturbatory and distracting entry with little bearing on a bigger picture from Reason while they overlook pretty much all pressing issues.
        But hey, endless circle jerks are totes productive.

      2. And you should realize that BLM and Reason aren’t working towards accountability when they talk of reform,, but nationalized explicitly political law enforcement along the lines of the SS and Stasi

        1. Get some mental help seriously. I’m sure there are places around you.

          1. I think twatter has rotted his brain.

          2. Rather ironic coming from you jackass.

        2. You mean when Reason posts articles about successful state-level reforms like requiring a conviction for asset forfeiture they’re explicitly endorsing federal police? That’s just dumb.

          1. No screetch, he means when Reason blatantly ignores certain issues to favor others. Case in point not a single article on the many still in prison solitary nearly five months for walking around and taking selfies at the capitol. See they aren’t black and Reason is afraid to confront the DOJ. Same with the blmantifa riots, only one Reason writer had the guts to talk about it.

            1. Oh, I get it. Reason, like every other publication in the entire world, favors some issues over others.

              That means that, when they don’t give their particular view on a subject, that you get to fill in the blank with some straw man and then set it on fire.

              Perhaps amongst your circle of jerks that counts as making a convincing argument, but to thinking people it just makes you look like an ass.

              1. No, that’s quite a legitimate point. Police abuse is one of my pet issues. Coverage here is one of the things that drew me into the world of online commentary.

                Pretty much everyone to the left of a moderately right wing Republican has been cowed into parroting their outrage over the capital riot. Reason is no different. The evidence around here is plentiful, but Matt Welch put it most succinctly.. He believes that the capital riots are tantamount to an existential threat to the government, and there is no comparison whatsoever with any of the many BLM and antifa riots of the prior year.

                If, rather than releasing them without charge or ordering that none of them be arrested, the people who firebombed and ransacked businesses, who barricaded police into a basement and attempted to burn them alive, or simply rioters who attacked police with the intention of getting propaganda footage had been held without bail for months on misdemeanor charges, I dare say a reason magazine would be all in, guns ablazing. I cannot imagine that there would not be wall to wall coverage here over the abuse of power.

                But, like everyone left right and center except for on the far right, there is no stomach for taking on the Biden administration on this one.

                Even Kmele Foster treads lately when mentioning the comparison and asking whether such actions are warranted.

                I suppose impuning motives upon other people is not kosher, but I have a hard time imagining any hard and principled reasoning behind this. The only rationale I can imagine is fear or sympathy for a tribe. Either folks are afraid that they will be labeled and canceled and their career will be over, or their natural instincts of tribalism are kicking in and impacting their reasoning.

            2. Lol. Get fucked, traitors.

            3. Walking around, taking selfies? Dang, buckle, you owe me a new computer keyboard cuz I just spit my beer all over my current keyboard when I read your comment.

    2. No-good right-wing cop succors are among my favorite culture war casualties.

      Open wider, Nardz.

      1. Holy shit, do we actually agree for once?

        Don’t let it happen again. People will think we’re dating.

    3. Vote authoritarian! It’s better than totalitarian! Go authoritarians! Go authoritarians! I wanna be ruled by authoritarians!

    4. You mean the police unions?

  7. “Local prosecutors declined to charge the troopers involved with any crimes, but did refer the incident to the Department of Justice, which is independently investigating the circumstances of Greene’s death.”

    Local prosecutors know damn well that illegal shit went down, but were unwilling to rock the local boat, so they sent an e-mail or two to the feds to do their jobs for them.

    1. They know nothing will happen at the local or state level.

  8. “…so they sent an e-mail or two to the feds to do their jobs for them.”

    That Biden win* will get a lot more personally painful for those dirty troopers. Pain is the only thing that will fix this. Cops are insufficiently afraid of their masters when off the clock.

    Win* Election fraud benefactor

  9. York was suspended without pay for 50 hours.

    What the hell does that even mean? 48 consecutive hrs. and change? 6 working days and change? 4 shifts? Does he show up for 50 hours and not get paid or is it a week of unpaid leave?

    1. Probably means he takes a week off and eats 50 of the 3000 vacation hours he has saved up. He works for the government, which means that unlike little people he’s likely not limited on the hours he can bank. It’s a great scheme. He starts banking hours when his rate is like $15/hr, and cashes them all in the year before he retires at two or three times the rate. Not only that but his pension is going to be based upon his last couple years of pay. That means he can effectively double his ending salary, and pension, with those vacation hours.

      So that’s actually hitting him where is hurts.

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  11. The man had a broken breastbone and a torn aorta. Were these injuries the result of his motor vehicle coming to a violent stop with his chest hitting the steering column or other hard object or a beating by the police? The body cam footage should help clarify.

    1. I had not heard these details. If you look at the state of the vehicle in the body cam footage, there’s almost no chance that these injuries were sustained during the accident.

      The victim not only appears to be relatively unharmed, he does not appear to be in any sort of physical pain at all. He does to appear to be quite intimidated and afraid of the police.

      The police present at the time also do not seem to be the slightest bit concerned that he is sustained any injuries. Not in a callus and in different to their fellow human being kind of way (that comes later), But in a “they do not believe that there’s any possibility of such injuries” kind of way.

  12. What a mess. We have thuggish cops brutalizing citizens, in part to feed their lust for petty power. Clearly well beyond the ideals of ‘serve and protect’ or ‘deescalate the situation’. Not all of them. Not even most of them. But enough of them that honest citizens have reason to be afraid. Pendulum swings. In response we have BLM terrorists brutalizing citizens to feed their lust for anarchy, marxist ideals, and racist idealogy. All under the cover provided by the thuggish cops and the media reaction. Not all of them. Not even most of them. But enough of them that honest citizens have reason to be afraid. We are reminded again that we need aggressive policing to counter this. And pendulum swings again. Lather, wash, rinse, and repeat. Maybe some day we will get serious about reasonable police and criminal justice reform. Get serious about ending the drug war and the resulting violence. Get serious about modifications to qualified immunity. Get serious about sincerely (but not blindly) supporting law enforcement when they perform their appropriate duties, and demanding that the bad apples be aggressively purged. I won’t hold my breadth. But I do believe that there is a recipe in here somewhere here that would gain the support of the vast majority of Americans and that would actually improve the situation.

  13. This summary underplays the role of the ER doctor.

    Officers told the family that the victim died on impact in the crash. They gave the same story to the ER doctor.

    But he noticed that there were bruises on his wrists and ankles consistent with being handcuffed. That made no sense, given the story told. Why would you handcuff a dead man? He did some further checking and found the marks from the taser prongs in the victim’s back.

    In the face of obvious pressures from the police present, this guy refused to accept their explanation and pressed forward with his suspicions.

    Even given this, it took two years for any of this to come out.

    Having watched the video that was released, it is not clear exactly what happened. It looks very much like a case of pursuit rage, where a couple of officers completely lost their tempers and lost control of their actions. But nothing shown on the video went to the level of deadly force,other than the insistence that he remained on his stomach handcuffed and hogtied.

    I suspect that asphyxiation or other effects of being placed in this position were the direct causes of death, but not enough of it is shown.

    What is shown is officers who are far too quick to initiate violence and who do so in an incoherent and rage-filled manner.

    Whether or not to pursue murder charges is one thing, but it is not remotely in question as to whether there was excessive force employed here. The subsequent lies and cover up show a guilty mind by the police present at the time and by their commanders and the prosecutors. I would say this augers for the fact that greater charges are warranted, and that people in the chain of command have abused their authority to cover this up. It is too bad that there is no way to hold them accountable, other than the electorate taking action.

  14. The torn aorta is the tough one.

    That is very hard for to inflict upon a person. Maybe if they repeatedly body slammed him from a standing position.

    But it is entirely consistent with an unrestrained driver hitting something head on, and can even occur at relatively “low” speeds – 30 mph. Speeds that would not cause tremendous damage to the auto.

    (As an aside this is a decent example of how jaded we are to the forces involved when moving at mechanized speed. An unbelted crash, even at neighborhood speeds, imparts more injurious energy on a body than most ordinary humans can.)

    Not saying they didn’t beat the guy, just that the possibility exist that he was already a dead man walking when they started into him.

  15. What I get so annoyed by is that the police over up stuff that they should not. It is an embarrassment to the police to be caught lying. Much more so than to be caught fighting with a criminal who end up dead. Because here’s the deal…making police chase you at high speeds is extremely dangerous. When you engage in extremely dangerous activities you increase your risk of your own death and the death of others. So if you want to avoid death, doesn’t engage in dangerous activities, especially those that are criminal and wind up having police chasing you. Of course you can always stop, surrender to police, don’t fight them and serve your time.

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