Louisiana State Police Officers Charged in 2019 Death Of Black Motorist

Nearly four years after the routine traffic stop that led to Ronald Greene's death, the five officers face charges from homicide to obstruction.

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Image: Gerald Herbert (AP)

The state of Louisiana has finally brought charges against the five officers involved in the death of black motorist, Ronald Greene, AP News reports. Green died in 2019 at the hands of those officers after they escalated what should have been a normal traffic stop.

The five officers - Kory York, John Clary, Dakota Demoss, Christopher Harpin, and John Peters - were all charged with varying counts and degrees of everything ranging from homicide to malfeasance. From AP:

Facing the most serious charges from a state grand jury was Master Trooper Kory York, who was seen on the body-camera footage dragging Greene by his ankle shackles, putting his foot on his back to force him down and leaving the heavyset man face down in the dirt for more than nine minutes. Use-of-force experts say these actions could have dangerously restricted Greene’s breathing, and the state police’s own force instructor called the troopers’ actions “torture and murder.” York was charged with negligent homicide and 10 counts of malfeasance in office.

The others who faced various counts of malfeasance and obstruction included a trooper who denied the existence of his body-camera footage, another who exaggerated Greene’s resistance on the scene, a regional state police commander who detectives say pressured them not to make an arrest in the case and a Union Parish sheriff’s deputy heard on the video taunting Greene with the words “s—- hurts, doesn’t it?”

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The district attorney for Union Parish (where the incident happened), John Belton, praised the jury for bringing charges against the officers. Head of Louisana State Police Lamar Davis called the officer’s actions inexcusable and that their actions “have no place in professional public safety services.”

The charges for the officers are a long time coming. Green was arrested by state troopers on May 10, 2019 on a rural road. His family was initially told that he had died in a car crash after leading troopers on a high-speed chase. But both Greene’s family and the ER doctor who saw Greene’s body didn’t buy the story. His official cause of death was listed as a vehicle accident and it was over 400 days before an investigation started looking into what really happened.

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Like most cases like this, they happen more often than you think and can be brushed aside or hushed for optics. An investigation by AP found a broad attempt at a coverup. Eventually, the Justice Department got involved to review Louisiana State Police and people began asking questions of Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, believing he knew more than initially thought. Executive director of Louisana’s ACLU said, “Today’s decision is a long overdue first step toward justice for Ronald Greene’s family and accountability for a broken police system. Ronald Greene should be alive today.”

You can read the entire story and details on the AP, here.