Ronald Greene (2019)

From LEO Ratings

Overview

On May 10, 2019, Louisiana State Police Trooper Dakota DeMoss attempted to stop Greene for speeding and running a red light.[1] Greene fled, leading officers on a chase that reached speeds up to 115 mph before crashing. Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth approached Greene's vehicle and quickly Tased Greene multiple times.[2] DeMoss approached the passenger side of the vehicle, and several officers got Greene out of the car, took him to the ground, and attempted to handcuff him. Greene was punched, Tased, and struck with a flashlight before his hands and feet were cuffed.[3]

Greene was Tased a total of seven times.[1] A use-of-force document stated that pepper spray was used[4] and testimony showed that it was used after Greene was restrained.[5]

Union Parish Sheriff's Deputy Christopher Harpin can be heard saying, "Yeah, yeah, that s--- hurts, doesn’t it?", possibly in response to the use of pepper spray.[6]

Officers did not render aid to Greene.[7]

Lieutenant John Clary arrived after Greene had been restrained.[8]

Approximately 10 minutes after Greene was secured, Master Trooper Kory York forced Greene to continue laying on his belly and briefly dragged Greene across the ground on his stomach by his ankle shackles.[9][10][3]

As Hollingsworth followed the ambulance to the hospital, his body-worn camera recorded a phone conversation with another officer, during which Hollingsworth said, "I beat the ever-living f--- out of him, choked him and everything else trying to get him under control".[11]

Greene died on the way to the hospital.[2]

The incident was captured on multiple body-worn cameras. Hollingsworth turned off his body-worn camera during the chase.[12] York turned off his body-worn camera on his way to the scene.[13]

On May 10, 2019, police told Greene's family that he had died as a result of the crash.[14] State Police later released a statement that Greene had struggled with troopers and died on his way to the hospital.[2]

On May 10, 2019, Clary told internal investigators that Greene was still a threat to flee after he was shackled, and denied the existence of his own body-worn camera footage.[9] Clary told investigators that Greene "was still, yelling and screaming ... and he was still resisting, even though he was handcuffed. He was still trying to get away and was not cooperating." Clary said that troopers sat Greene up and "immediately held his head up so he could get a clear airway." Investigators found these statements did not match the video. [8]

DeMoss told investigators that he "survived a fight for his life", and claimed that Greene "never gave up resisting" and was "hollering and being belligerent" during the arrest. DeMoss justified keeping Greene on the ground due to his "physical size and strength and the fear that Greene would harm someone else should he regain his footing".[1]

In May 2019, department investigator Albert Paxton recommended that Hollingsworth be charged with obstruction and aggravated assault.[7]

In May 2019, an autopsy report noted lacerations on Greene's head that were "inconsistent with motor vehicle collision injury" and more likely to have been caused by "multiple impact sites from a blunt object".[15]

On September 9, 2019, the local District Attorney reviewed the video and claimed that "state and federal crimes had been committed", and referred the case to the U.S. Department of Justice.[16]

On October 23, 2019, Colonel Kevin Reeves - the Superintendent of Louisiana State Police - described the incident as "awful but lawful".[16]

In February 2020, Lt. Colonel Doug Cain - second in command at the Troop - requested that his department-issued cell phone be erased and reset.[17]

In March 2020, the FBI started a civil rights investigation.[10]

On May 6, 2020, Greene's family filed a lawsuit against DeMoss, Hollingsworth, York, Sergeant Floyd McElroy, Clary, Troop F Commander Colonel John Peters, and Harpin.[18]

On August 25, 2020, the department opened an internal investigation.[19]

On September 9, 2020, Hollingsworth was placed on leave for improper use of body-worn and in-car camera systems, improper use of force, unsatisfactory performance, conduct unbecoming of an officer, and unlawful orders.[20]

On September 16, 2020, Hollingsworth admitted to striking Greene in the head with a flashlight.[10]

On September 21, 2020, Hollingsworth was told that the department planned to terminate him.[19]

On September 22, 2020, Hollingsworth died as a result of a single-vehicle, high-speed crash.[21] Investigators found that Hollingsworth was not impaired and was not wearing his seatbelt.[7]

On October 31, 2020, Reeves retired, reportedly due in part to the department's handling of Greene's case and others.[22] Cain was promoted to Lt. Colonel.[17]

On November 4, 2020, Peters wrote an email that suggested the city could "reduce our... liability" by claiming Greene experienced a force of 19g during the crash, which caused an aortic rupture. Peters claimed that "detectives proved we did not cause the death".[23]

On December 11, 2020, a District Court judge rejected the officers' claims of qualified immunity, stating that "every reasonable officer" would understand that the force used was unreasonable.[24]

In January 2021, York was suspended without pay for 50 hours for improper treatment of a prisoner in custody and activation issues with his body-worn and in-car camera systems.[19][13][2][25]

In April 2021, Clary's body-worn video emerged.[8]

On May 21, 2021, the department released "all of the video evidence maintained by [the Louisiana State Police]" of the incident.[26][25]

In June 2022, Trooper Carl Cavalier gave a TV interview, during which he described the incident as murder and claimed the existence of a coverup surrounding Greene's death.[27] Cavalier released notes from the earlier internal investigation.[14]

On June 4, 2021, DeMoss was fired as part of the Antonio Harris investigation.[28]

On July 19, 2021, Peters announced his retirement.[29]

Before August 4, 2021, Peters was suspended for 32 hours for approving the use-of-force report without reviewing the body-worn camera footage. Peters claimed it was "common practice" to do so.[30]

In August 2021, Peters retired.[31]

In October 2021, Cavalier was fired for violating department policies on public statements, lawful orders, loyalty to the department, dissemination of information, seeking publicity, and conduct unbecoming an officer.[27]

In January 2022, Paxton announced his retirement.[17]

On February 10, 2022, the state House of Representatives created a committee to investigate Greene's death.[32]

On March 4, 2022, the department launched an internal investigation into the sanitization of Cain's cell phone.[17]

On March 22, 2022, Lieutenant Johnny Brown testified to the committee that Peters asked him to bury evidence in the investigation. Paxton told a news source that Peters asked him and Brown to hide the body-worn camera footage and "deny it existed".[33]

In March 2022, Brown announced his retirement.[33]

In March 2022, Cain refused to answer the committee's questions due to the internal investigation around his cell phone.[17]

In April 2022, Cain was placed on paid leave during the investigation around his cell phone.[17]

On April 7, 2022, the District Attorney announced plans to convene a grand jury to consider state charges against the troopers.[16]

On April 11, 2022, the State Inspector General's office took over the investigation into the erasing of cell phones.[34]

On June 17, 2022, Cain announced his retirement.[17]

On September 20, 2022, an appeals court denied the officers' request for qualified immunity.[35]

On December 15, 2022, York was charged with negligent homicide and 10 counts of malfeasance in office. Clary was charged with malfeasance in office and felony obstruction of justice. DeMoss was charged with obstruction of justice. Harpin was charged with three counts of malfeasance in office. Peters was charged with felony obstruction of justice. Hollingsworth was not charged as he was deceased.[1] The maximum penalty for each count of negligent homicide and malfeasance in office is five years in prison. Each count of obstruction of justice is likely to carry a penalty of up to 5 years in prison.[14]

On December 15, 2022, York and Clary were placed on administrative leave.[14]

Harpin was placed on administrative leave.[36]

Video

Hollingsworth Body Camera Video Part 1
Hollingsworth Body Camera Video Part 2
York In-Car Video
York Body Camera Video
DeMoss Body Camera Video
Clary In-Car Video
Clary #1 Body Camera Video
Clary #2 Body Camera Video
Clary #3 Body Camera Video
Body-worn camera video and interview audio with Trooper Hollingsworth

Officers Involved


Official Reports

Additional Sources

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Who Are Officers Charged in Ronald Greene's Deadly Arrest?, US News, 2022-12-15
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Jim Mustian, 'I'm scared': AP obtains video of deadly arrest of Black man, AP News, 2021-05-19
  3. 3.0 3.1 Ronald Greene Incident Body/In-Car Camera Videos - Tpr. DeMoss Body Worn Camera, LA State Police, 2021-05-21
  4. AP video: Ronald Greene ordered facedown in deadly arrest, WAFB, 2021-05-22
  5. Jim Mustian, ‘Torture and murder’: Ronald Greene case turns cop vs. cop, AP News, 2022-03-22
  6. Jim Mustian, Louisiana officers charged in Black motorist’s deadly arrest, ABC News, 2022-12-16
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Gabe Hauari, What we know about Ronald Greene's death and Louisiana State Police's investigation into his arrest, News Star, 2021-07-01
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Jim Mustian, AP: Top cop in Ronald Greene's deadly arrest withheld cam video, Associated Press, 2021-05-24
  9. 9.0 9.1 Jim Mustian, AP: Top cop in Black man’s deadly arrest withheld cam video, AP News, 2021-05-24
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Jim Mustian, Body cam prompts new FBI look at what killed Ronald Greene, News Star, 2021-07-07
  11. Ronald Greene Incident Body/In-Car Camera Videos Tpr. Hollingsworth Body Worn Camera 2 of 2, LA State Police, 2022-05-21
  12. Ronald Greene Incident Body/In-Car Camera Videos Tpr. Hollingsworth Body Worn Camera 1 of 2, LA State Police, 2021-05-21
  13. 13.0 13.1 Jim Mustian, AP: Trooper kicked, dragged Black man who died in custody, AP News, 2021-02-27
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Chris Nakamoto, Lawmakers, family weigh in on officers' indictments years after Ronald Greene's death in police custody, WBRZ, 2022-12-16
  15. Theresa Waldrop, Here’s what the autopsy says about the death of Ronald Greene, CNN, 2021-05-21
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Wesley Muller, Prosecutor will pursue charges against troopers in Ronald Greene case, Louisiana Illuminator, 2022-04-07
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 17.6 Jeremy Krail, State Police second-in-command retires amid investigation into Ronald Greene cover-up, WBRZ, 2022-06-17
  18. Greene v DeMoss et al, U.S. District Court, 2020-05-06
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Devin Bartolotta, Timeline: Ronald Greene's deadly arrest by Louisiana State Police, WWL, 2021-05-24
  20. Chris Nakamoto, INVESTIGATIVE UNIT: Trooper involved in deadly 2019 encounter placed on leave more than a year later, WBRZ, 2020-09-15
  21. Jim Mistian, Trooper who faced firing in Black man’s death dies in crash, AP News, 2020-09-22
  22. Nick Gremillion, Superintendent Col. Kevin Reeves retires from Louisiana State Police, Gov. Edwards announces, 2022-10-27
  23. Chris Nakamoto, Nakamoto: Emails show State Police looked at ways to limit liability after Ronald Greene's death, WBRZ, 2021-06-17
  24. Greene v. DeMoss Opinion, U.S. District Court, 2020-12-11
  25. 25.0 25.1 Ian Robinson, Louisiana State Police respond to leaked Ronald Greene excessive force video, News Star, 2021-05-21
  26. Youtube channel, LA State Police
  27. 27.0 27.1 Sharif Paget, Black state trooper in Louisiana faces termination after accusing colleagues of murder, CNN, 2021-10-16
  28. Two state troopers fired, one tied to deadly arrest of Ronald Greene, WBRZ, 2021-06-10
  29. Lea Skene, State Police commander, who supervised Troop F during series of scandals, to retire, The Advocate, 2021-07-19
  30. Julia Marnin, Louisiana Police Officials Under Investigation for Interference in Probe of Black Man's Death, Newsweek, 2021-08-04
  31. Lea Skene, State Police commander, who supervised Troop F during series of scandals, to retire, The Advocate, 2021-07-19
  32. Greg Hilburn, Lawmakers to investigate death of Black motorist that was covered up by Louisiana State Police, Layfayette Daily Advertiser, 2022-02-11
  33. 33.0 33.1 Chris Rosato, ‘Hide it and deny it’: Trooper says he was ordered to bury Ronald Greene evidence, WAFB, 2022-03-22
  34. Chris Nakamoto, La. Inspector General to investigate why State Police erased cell phones of top brass, WBRZ, 2022-04-11
  35. Appeals court denies troopers' request for immunity in Ronald Greene lawsuit, KTBS, 2022-09-20
  36. Who are officers charged in Ronald Greene’s deadly arrest?, Seattle Times, 2022-12-15