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A black man’s family watches the graphic video of death in custody



BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – This week family members saw camera video of the long-secret body of a black man who died in custody of the Louisiana State Police, their lawyer calls it footage. malicious showing soldiers choking and beating the man, repeatedly shaking him with stun guns and dragging him face down onto the sidewalk.

Ronald Greene’s mother and sister complained “as if they were at a funeral” Wednesday after meeting with Governor John Bel Edwards and the half-hour viewing of footage of the May 2019 meeting that is now the subject of a federal civil rights investigation, their attorney told The Associated Press.

“This family has been lying about what happened the whole time,”

; said civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt, who also watched the footage. “The video was very difficult to watch. It’s one of those videos like George Floyd and even Ahmaud Arbery where it’s so graphic.”

The video, which police refused to release publicly, only added to lingering questions about Greene’s death, such as why the state police initially accused her of a car accident and why they waited more than one hour. year to discipline one of the replying agents. Commander Chris Hollingsworth died in a car accident last month, hours after learning he had been fired for his role in the incident.

The meeting followed AP’s disclosure of a 27-second audio clip from Hollingsworth’s body camera where he can be heard saying to a colleague, “I beat him to death”, and graphic images of Greene’s body released by his family showing deep bruises on his face and cuts in his head.

Greene’s family on Wednesday overheard that exchange and a series of “abusive language” the soldiers used during the arrest, Merritt said, even though Greene made no effort to escape after a high-speed chase.

At one point, one officer is seen putting one foot on Greene “while another punches him,” he said. One cop can be heard calling Greene a “stupid son of a bitch,” Merritt said, while another warns that “we shouldn’t be treating him anymore.”

“Ronald immediately surrendered on his first contact with law enforcement. When the vehicle stopped, he raised his hands and said, “I’m sorry,” “Merritt said.” His last words were, ‘I’m sorry.’ “

The AP also obtained a medical report showing that even an emergency room doctor doubted the police’s initial account of Greene’s death from the moment he arrived dead at the hospital, bruised and bloodied with two stun gun points in his back.

The medical report – cited in a federal manslaughter lawsuit but not previously made public – was presented by Greene’s family as evidence that the soldiers were actively involved in a cover-up.

“It doesn’t come back,” wrote Dr. Omokhuale Omokhodion.

Police initially told Greene’s family he was “dead on impact” after crashing into a tree, the doctor wrote.

But in an addition to his report, Omokhodion wrote that law enforcement eventually told him that Greene “had been involved in a brawl and fight with them where he was charged three times.” Two taser probes remained in Greene’s back even after he arrived at Glenwood Regional Medical Center in West Monroe.

“The story seems to be disconnected,” Omokhodion wrote in his report. “There are different versions.”

The steady pace of the revelations brought national exposure to the case and increased pressure on Edwards, a Democrat, to order the release of full body-cam videos of the six soldiers at the scene.

The Louisiana black legislative committee, usually close ally of Edwards, has asked the governor to release the footage.

“While the video may fall under the Louisiana Public Records Act exception, it is imperative that in an effort of full transparency and public trust the video be released immediately,” the caucus said in a statement.

State and federal prosecutors found it appropriate for the family to watch the video, Edwards said Thursday, but believe it “would be harmful for that video to be made public while it is actually evidence they are considering.”

“I’m just not going to sit here and feature the video for you,” the governor told reporters.

Greene’s death, which followed a chase near Monroe for an unspecified traffic violation, was declared accidental and attributed to cardiac arrest, said Renee Smith, the Union Parish coroner who was not in charge when he was that decision has been made.

Omokhodion’s medical report found that Greene, a 49-year-old barber, was “rumored to have been intoxicated” and “driving at more than 110 mph” before losing control of his vehicle and driving off the road. He added that Greene had no chronic health problems.

The chronology of the report also differs slightly from that spelled out in a State Police incident report which omits any mention of troops using force or even taking Greene into custody. The State Police report refers to Greene’s crash into a tree as the “most damaging event” of the accident.

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Mustian reported from New York.


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