Louisiana State Police told Ronald Greene’s family that he died when his truck hit a tree during a high-speed chase. Newly revealed body cam footage obtained by the Associated Press shows an even more horrific death at the hands of police.
In the year since Greene’s death, police threw up as many roadblocks as possible to cover for officers who beat, dragged, and used a stun gun on the handcuffed man. The video is frankly disturbing and traumatizing, so I won’t embed here. If you wish to watch the footage you can find it here on the AP’s website. In the video, Greene can be heard apologizing:
The 46-minute clip shows one trooper wrestling Greene to the ground, putting him in a chokehold and punching him in the face while another can be heard calling him a “stupid motherf—-—.”
Greene wails “I’m sorry!” as another trooper delivers another stun gun shock to his backside and warns, “Look, you’re going to get it again if you don’t put your f—-—- hands behind your back!” Another trooper can be seen briefly dragging the man facedown after his legs had been shackled and his hands cuffed behind him.
Instead of rendering aid, the troopers leave the heavyset man unattended, facedown and moaning for more than nine minutes, as they use sanitizer wipes to wash blood off their hands and faces.
“I hope this guy ain’t got f——— AIDS,” one of the troopers can be heard saying.
State troopers delayed starting an investigation into Greene’s death until 474 days after the incident, the AP reports. The police originally told Greene’s family he died on impact in a car crash, and then later issued a short statement admitting to an altercation with Greene and that he died on the way to the hospital. Louisiana State Police called the officers’ action “awful but lawful.” They also delayed releasing the body cam footage, though Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards let the family view the footage and vowed to release the footage after a federal investigation into potential civil rights abuses in the case wraps up.
The Louisiana State Police declined to comment, only saying that this “early” release of the footage “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,” the AP reports. Withholding the body cam footage is rare, as most police precincts immediately release body cam footage in excessive force cases. One of the officers involved in Greene’s death was only punished with 50 hours worth of pay deducted from his salary. Another officer is already in custody over another excessive force incident following a high-speed chase.
It’s pretty clear why Louisiana State Police worked so hard to keep this horrific footage under wraps. While yes, you shouldn’t run from the cops, being tortured on the side of the road while handcuffed is not how we should punish people in this country. That should go without saying.