NEW ORLEANS — Body camera footage of the moments leading up to the man’s death captured by The Associated Press after police failed to reveal it for two years shows Louisiana state troopers stunning, hitting, and dragging a Black Man’s Case as he apologizes for leading them on a high-speed chase.
“My name is your brother!” I’m terrified! I’m terrified!” As the unarmed man is jolted repeatedly with a stun gun before he even gets out of his vehicle, Ronald Greene can be heard asking the white troopers.
A federal civil rights probe is underway into the 2019 arrest south of Monroe, Louisiana. Greene’s case, however, has been veiled in controversy and allegations of a cover-up, unlike other in-custody deaths around the country where body camera footage was posted almost instantly.
Officials in Louisiana have repeatedly refused to share video or information about what caused the 49-year-suicide. old’s Greene’s family was first advised that he died on impact after colliding with a tree during the chase. Greene clashed with policemen and collapsed on his way to the hospital, according to a one-page statement issued later by State Police.
The public will now see for the first time some of what transpired after the arrest thanks to video captured by the AP from one trooper’s body camera.
One trooper can be heard calling Greene a “stupid mother—-—” as he wrestles him to the ground, puts him in a chokehold, and punches him in the face in the 46-minute video.
Greene screams, “I’m sorry!” when another trooper shocks his backside with a stun gun and tells him, “Look, you’re going to get it again if you don’t put your f—-—- hands behind your back!” After the man’s ankles have been shackled and his hands cuffed behind him, another trooper can be seen momentarily pulling him facedown.
Instead of providing relief, the troopers leave the burly man facedown and crying for more than nine minutes while washing blood from their hands and faces with sanitizer wipes.
One of the troopers can be heard saying, “I hope this man doesn’t have f——— AIDS.”
After a few minutes of not being seen on television, Greene reappears, limp, unresponsive, and bleeding from his head and face. His arm is cuffed to the bedrail as he is put onto an ambulance gurney.
Greene is not seen in certain areas of the recording, and the trooper manages to cut the microphone off midway through, making it impossible to put together precisely what was going on at all times. At least six troopers were present at the time of the arrest, but not all of them were wearing body cameras.
“They assassinated him. Greene’s mother, Mona Hardin, said Wednesday, “It was laid out, it was prepared.” “He wasn’t going to stand a chance. Ronnie wasn’t going to stand a chance. He wasn’t going to make it out alive.”
The clip “has plenty of the same hallmarks of the George Floyd film, the length of it, the pure violence of it,” according to Lee Merritt, an attorney for Greene’s family.
Merritt added, “He apologized in an effort to surrender.”
The Louisiana State Police have refused to comment on the video’s content. The department said in a statement that the “premature public release of investigation files and video information, in this case, is not allowed” and that it “undermines the investigative process and threatens the equitable and unbiased outcome.”
State Police brass originally maintained that the troopers’ use of force was justified — “awful but legal,” as one official put it — and did not launch an administrative inquiry into Greene’s death until 474 days later.
“Police agencies must avoid erecting barriers to evidence that is, in the public’s opinion, suspect. They have to share what they know, as soon as they know it,” said Andrew Scott, a retired Boca Raton police chief who testifies as an expert witness in use-of-force trials. “It gives the impression that you’re concealing something.”
Scott said pulling the handcuffed man facedown by his ankle shackles was “malicious, sadistic, and utterly needless,” notwithstanding the fact that Greene “was not at blame” and appeared to defy the troopers’ orders.
Another use-of-force specialist and retired Baltimore police lieutenant, Charles Key, challenged the troopers’ decision to leave Greene unattended for several minutes while handcuffed and vulnerable, calling the procedure “just dead wrong.”
“You don’t leave anyone lying on the ground, particularly after a fight,” Key explained. “For a lot of years, the teaching has been that as soon as you get someone under control, you put them on their side to help their breathing… especially this man, because he was very heavy.”
Greene’s family also filed a federal wrongful-death lawsuit charging that troopers “brutalized” Greene and “had him battered, bloodied, and in cardiac arrest” before concealing his death. Greene’s family also posted gruesome images of his body on a gurney, which reveal extensive bruising and cuts on his face and head.
Greene, a barber, refused to pull over shortly after midnight on May 10, 2019, approximately 30 miles south of the Arkansas state line, for an unspecified traffic violation. Trooper Dakota DeMoss is seen chasing Greene’s SUV on rural highways at over 115 mph in the video accessed by AP.
“We’ve got to do something,” DeMoss warned on his radio seconds before the chase stopped. He’s trying to murder someone.”
When both troopers insist that Greene exit the car, Hollingsworth stuns him with a stun gun through the driver’s side window.
As the troopers wrestle Greene to the deck, he escapes from the passenger side. When they attempt to handcuff him, one trooper can be heard crying, “He’s pulling me.” One trooper says, “Put your hands behind your back, slut.”
Before being handcuffed, Hollingsworth kicks Greene several times and tries to sit on one of his sides.
Trooper Kory York yanks Greene’s leg shackles and drags him on his stomach for a fleeting moment, despite the fact that he doesn’t seem to be resisting.
For the dragging and wrongly deactivating his body camera, York was suspended without pay for 50 hours. The computer was beeping repeatedly, and York’s “mind was on other matters,” he told police.
In a different video recorded by AP, Hollingsworth can be heard telling a coworker that “he beat the ever-living f—- out of” Greene.
Hollingsworth is overheard saying, “Choked him and everything else struggling to keep him under control.” “He was coughing blood all over the place and then went limp.”
Hollingsworth died in a single-vehicle highway accident hours after learning he would be sacked for his involvement in the Greene affair.
Meanwhile, DeMoss was jailed last year in connection with a separate car chase in which he and two other troopers were accused of using unnecessary force when handcuffing a motorist. The case is still in the works.
The cause of Greene’s death is now unknown. Last year, Union Parish Coroner Renee Smith told the Associated Press that his death was sudden and caused by cardiac arrest. Smith, who was not in the office at the time, said Greene’s death was due to a traffic accident in her office’s file, which contained no mention of a struggle with State Police.
Greene arrived at the hospital battered and bloodied, with two stun-gun prongs in his back, according to a medical report published by the Associated Press last year. As a result, the doctor questioned troopers’ original claim that Greene died “on impact” after colliding with a branch.
The doctor wrote, “Doesn’t add up.”