5 Louisiana troopers indicted over 2019 death of black driver

More than three years after Ronald Greene died in the custody of Louisiana State Police, five law enforcement officers were charged Thursday in connection with a violent encounter captured on video, including Mr. Green, a black man, was choked by the police and repeatedly punched and kicked when he called for help.

The charges stem from a single count of manslaughter brought against one of the five officers by a Louisiana grand jury, officials and attorneys. Green’s family said.

The allegations are the first to emerge as an initial profile of Mr. Green resisted arrest after a high-speed chase, but body camera footage shows this. The video, obtained by The Associated Press, shows Green, 49, yelling, “I’m scared!” as a white officer repeatedly stuns him with a Taser.

“They need to be held accountable,” Mr Mona Harding said. Green’s mother told reporters Thursday after the charges were announced that the development was a positive step that must be followed up with a successful prosecution. “Because if you don’t, you’re allowing Ronald Green to be killed. If you’re just slapping the wrist, you’re okay with my son being murdered.”

Two soldiers have been placed on administrative leave as a result of the indictment, state police said Thursday. One of the officers, Master Trooper Kory York, was charged with the most serious crimes, including manslaughter and 10 counts of misconduct. (York Troopers had previously been suspended for 50 hours and returned to active duty.) John Clary, charged with malfeasance and obstruction of justice, was the highest-ranking officer on the scene.

The other two were state troopers, Trooper Dakota DeMoss and Capt. John Peters, both charged with obstruction of justice. Also named in the indictment is Christopher Harpin, deputy sheriff of the United Parish, charged with three counts of malpractice.

Trooper DeMoss was suspended last year following his arrest in an unrelated case, in which he and three other soldiers were charged with using excessive force and disabling body cameras during the arrest.

Five officers were indicted on Thursday, and their attorneys could not immediately be reached for comment. But attorneys representing Trooper York and Deputy Harpin told The Associated Press late Thursday that they expect their clients to be found not guilty if their cases go to trial.

Another soldier involved in the arrest, Chris Hollingsworth, was killed in a 2020 highway single-vehicle crash. The Associated Press reported at the time that he had been notified hours before that he would be fired for his role in “Mr.” Green’s fatal arrest.

“Today’s indictment follows a thorough and extensive investigation by state and federal agencies,” the colonel said. Louisiana State Police Chief Lamar A. Davis said in a statement Thursday. “Any instance of excessive force endangers public safety and poses a threat to our communities. These actions are inexcusable and have no place in the professional public safety service.”

gentlemen. Just after midnight on May 10, 2019, state police in Union Parish, east of Shreveport in northern Louisiana, stopped Greene from Monroe, Louisiana. Authorities initially said Mr. Green was being pursued by police for a traffic violation, refusing to stop and resisting arrest. His death was ruled accidental and attributed to cardiac arrest by the United Parish Coroner.

Two years later, the Associated Press released body camera footage showing a very different version of events. In the video, Mr. Greene was beaten, choked, handcuffed and left face down for more than nine minutes. His family commissioned their own autopsy, which revealed severe injuries to his skull and gashes to his face.

The harrowing footage left Mr. Green’s case, which initially drew little attention, has drawn national attention as tensions have risen in recent years over a string of high-profile black men killed in clashes with police .

The surge in attention has led to a series of overlapping investigations at the state and federal levels. The state legislature convened a special committee to review the case and its handling by state police and elected officials. In 2020, federal investigators launched a civil rights investigation. In June, the Justice Department announced it had opened a broader investigation of the Louisiana State Police over allegations of abuse and discriminatory behavior by the police.

Col. Davis said Thursday that the case has prompted “fundamental improvements in our operations, training and management” within the state police.

The case was brought before a grand jury in November by John Belton, the district attorney for the Diocese of the United Diocese. gentlemen. Belton has said federal prosecutors have no objection to him moving forward with the case.

“It’s a victory, and we’re going to accept it — and we’re grateful for it,” Meghan Matt, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Louisiana, said at a news conference Thursday, standing next to Ms. Ha. Ding and other relatives. “But we will continue to relentlessly hold accountable these officers and all those involved in these crimes.”

However Ms Matt said Green’s death had left a painful void in his family, which was particularly pronounced as Christmas approached. gentlemen. Green, a hairdresser, was on his way to meet his wife in Florida when police pulled him over. He is reportedly in remission after a two-year battle with cancer.

“For three and a half years, that was their life,” the family’s attorney, Ron Haley, said of their tireless efforts, “to make sure their son, brother, father, cousin, nephew , their friends, accept justice.”

State Rep. C. Denise Marcelle praised the charges but said responsibility was not limited to the officers. “I don’t want to stop at five,” she told a news conference.

“I hope we can get to the root of everyone involved in the cover-up,” she said. Marcelle, a Democrat from Baton Rouge, serves on the special committee investigating Mr. Trump. Green’s death. “We’ve got to dig into this and clean the house.”

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