By T. Scott Boatright
BATON ROUGE — A rally was held outside of the state Capitol Thursday with speakers demanding the arrest of three Louisiana State Police officers involved with the case of Ronald Greene, who died while in custody following a vehicular pursuit from Ouachita Parish into Union Parish on May 10 of 2019.
“We are not interested in another apology, handholding or a kumbaya moment,” Acadiana television station KATC reported Attorney Lee Merritt as saying during that rally/press conference. “We want justice for the family of Ronald Greene.”
The story gained nationwide traction last week after the Associated Press released segments of LSP body camera video in which troopers can allegedly be seen punching and tasing before dragging him face down with his legs shackled following the traffic stop.
The LSP reportedly originally said that Greene, who was from West Monroe, had died after his vehicle struck a tree during the pursuit before later acknowledging that Greene has struggled with them before dying en route to a West Monroe hospital.
Additional documents obtained by the AP reportedly contend Greene probably died at the scene.
Some of the footage the AP possesses reportedly came from a body camera worn during the incident by LSP Lt. John Clary, of Ruston.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards was reported to have met with Greene’s mother on Thursday and later issued a statement regarding the incident and ongoing investigation.
“What happened was tragic, and I cannot imagine the immense pain of losing a child in such a terrible way,” Edwards said in that statement. “Nothing can make up for the disturbing treatment he received at the hands of some state troopers. I pledged to Ms. Mona Hardin that Louisiana State Police is cooperating fully with the Union Parish District Attorney and the United States Department of Justice in their investigations and that under the leadership of a new state police superintendent, change has already started at the agency.
“I expect every trooper who wears a Louisiana State Police badge to act professionally under every circumstance, to seek to de-escalate violent or tense situations and to treat all people they encounter respectfully and justly. Law enforcement officers must hold themselves to the highest standards at all times. I certainly do. The officers seen on the body cam footage of Mr. Greene’s arrest do not represent what we aspire to in the state of Louisiana. Their actions were deeply unprofessional and incredibly disturbing. I am disappointed in them and in any officer who stood by and did not intervene during the arrest.
“I am praying that ongoing investigations, which the state is cooperating with, will bring Mr. Greene’s family a measure of peace and justice.”
American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana Director Alanah Odoms also spoke at the rally.
“Those officers had no faith in the laws of this land … they had no faith in the Constitution,” USA Today reported Odoms as saying.
Greene’s family reportedly filed a wrongful death lawsuit last year ago, and his death is said the subject of a federal civil rights investigation.