May 23 (UPI) — Louisiana State Police have released nine videos from the traffic stop that resulted in Ronald Greene’s death two years ago.
Multiple videos and body camera footage show that Greene, a 49-year-old Black man, died after troopers handcuffed, beat and stun-gunned him during a May 10, 2019, traffic stop near Monroe, La.
The release of the videos has sparked an FBI civil rights probe and allegations of systemic abuse by state troopers, The Advocate reported.
State police initially claimed Greene died in a car crash following a long police chase, but an autopsy released to CNN Friday, lists his cause of death as “cocaine induced agitated delirium complicated by motor vehicle collision, physical struggle, inflicted head injury, and restraint.”
State Police Superintendent Colonel Lamar Davis, who became the head of the LSP last October, said Friday at a new conference that some body camera video was already recently leaked, and that they are now releasing all video evidence.
He also said the matter is the subject of an ongoing investigation, and they’re protecting the integrity of the case and due process.
Davis unsealed nine videos from body-worn and in-car cameras of Lt. John Clary and troopers Kory York, Dakota DeMoss and Chris Hollingsworth, linked to a release posted on the agency’s Facebook page, warning of the graphic nature, language and content.
“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,” Davis said at the news conference.
Davis said LSP investigators have been investigating the death, and secured the body camera videos he is now releasing.
“You have my commitment that we will follow the facts and hold our personnel accountable,” Davis said.
The video’s release was “two years too late, but better late than never,” Greene’s family attorney in its civil rights suit, Ron Haley, told The Advocate.
Police said in the video footage Greene was pulled over because he was speeding and ran a red light.
“I beat the ever-living f—out of him, choked him and everything else trying to get him under control,” Hollingsworth can be heard telling a fellow officer while following the ambulance carrying Greene to the hospital. “And we finally got him in handcuffs when a third man got there and the son of a —– was still fighting, and we were still wrestling with him trying to hold him down because he was spitting blood everywhere. And then all of the sudden he just went limp. Yeah, I thought he was dead.”
The fellow officer asked him if he had his body camera on, at which point, he quickly switches it off.
In disciplinary findings, Hollingsworth was sustained on administrative violations of body-worn camera and in-car camera systems, use of force, unsatisfactory performance, conduct unbecoming an officer, and lawful orders, with a final disciplinary decision of termination, Davis said at the news conference.
Prior to his termination, Hollingsworth died from injuries in a car crash. The fatal car crash occurred in September 2020, state police said, The New York Times reported.
York sustained violations for treatment of prisoners in custody and body worn camera/in-car camera system activation and received a 50-hour suspension. York served his suspension and returned to active duty pending the outcome of the review by federal and state authorities.
“I understand that the Greene family is grieving, and any loss of life is tragic, regardless of how,” Davis said at the news conference. “I realize that there is great concern with regard to the incident. We share that concern, any time the action of our employees is called into question.”
Davis said that he has made several changes in policies and procedures. Among the changes he listed were mandating use of force review and that all use of force incidents be reported, banning chokeholds unless lethal force is authorized, requiring body cameras to be worn on duty, and increasing diversity and implicit bias training, and diverse representation in leadership.
“While the federal and state criminal investigations into this matter are ongoing, Col. Davis continues to work to improve the department so all Louisianans can have confidence in those who swore an oath to protect and serve them,” Edwards said in the statement.