Lawyer: Release of bodycam footage showing deadly arrest of Ronald Greene a ‘game changer’; family plans rally

An attorney representing the family of Ronald Greene, a Black man who died in Louisiana police custody, called the release of body camera footage two years after Greene’s death a “game changer.”

“The public now sees why we’ve been saying something is wrong,” Ron Haley told USA TODAY. “They see the inhumanity, the brutality and the reckless indifference of Ronnie’s life.”

Family members, attorneys, activists and civil rights organizations will rally Thursday on the Louisiana Capitol steps to call for the arrest of the officers involved in Greene’s death.

Representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union and NAACP of Louisiana, Greene’s family, attorneys Lee Merritt and Haley, and Tamika Mallory, co-founder of Until Freedom, are expected to attend the rally. 

Greene, 49, died after Louisiana state troopers stunned, punched, choked and dragged him during an arrest outside of Monroe. Louisiana State Police released body camera and dash camera footage of the incident last Friday after The Associated Press published videos of Greene’s arrest earlier in the week.

Greene’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit about a year ago, Haley said. Greene’s death is the subject of a federal civil rights investigation. 

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards allowed Greene’s family to watch the body camera footage last year and pledged to release it to the public after the federal investigation finished. State Police Superintendent Lamar Davis said at a news conference last Friday that police “had every intention” to release evidence and information “as appropriate at the right time.”

‘I’m your brother! I’m scared’: Ronald Greene’s death raises hard questions about Louisiana police officers’ conduct

Troopers initially told the family Greene died on impact after crashing during a high-speed chase, Haley said. Later, state police said in a statement Greene struggled with troopers and died on his way to a hospital.

State police did not open an administrative investigation into the troopers’ use of force until 474 days after Greene’s death.

“Information was purposefully delayed in order to cover up Ronnie’s murder,” Haley said.

Lt. John Clary, the ranking Louisiana State Police officer at the scene of the deadly arrest, falsely told internal investigators Greene was still a threat to flee after he was shackled, and he denied the existence of his own body camera video for nearly two years, according to police records obtained by The Associated Press.

Trooper Kory York was suspended without pay for 50 hours for dragging Greene and for improperly deactivating his body camera. 

Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth died in a single-vehicle highway crash hours after he learned he would be fired for his role in the Greene case.

Trooper Dakota DeMoss was arrested in connection with a separate police pursuit last year in which he and two other troopers allegedly used excessive force while handcuffing a motorist.

Davis said last Friday he could not comment on the conduct of the troopers because of pending investigations. Davis said policies and procedures have been implemented within the department to prevent similar incidents from happening again.

Haley said the family still does not have a complete understanding of what happened in the aftermath of Greene’s death.

“We need to know how many hands were in the cover-up,” Haley said. “Those folks that have a hand in the cover-up need to be held responsible for what happened to Ronnie, just as those who physically put their hands on him.”

Contributing: Ian Robinson, Monroe News-Star; The Associated Press

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