“Make no mistake: Ron Greene was murdered at the hands of Louisiana State Police,” civil rights attorney Ron Haley said.
NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana State Police troopers involved in the violent arrest of a Black motorist who died in police custody in 2019 should be immediately fired and charged with crimes, leaders of the National Urban League and other civil rights groups said Thursday.
Marc Morial, the national president of the Urban League and a former mayor of New Orleans, was joined by other state and local civil rights groups in calling for action during an online news conference. Their remarks came just a week after The Associated Press obtained and published body camera video that appears to contradict at least one trooper’s statement that Ronald Greene continued to be a threat even after he was restrained, which justified the troopers’ use of force.
“Mr. Greene was killed by these state troopers,” Morial said after playing an Associated Press video report that included an interview with an expert on police use of force. “After seeing that video, no reasonable person could come to any other conclusion other than a crime has been committed by Louisiana state troopers.”
Civil rights attorney Ron Haley added, “Make no mistake: Ron Greene was murdered at the hands of Louisiana State Police.”
Greene’s mother, Mona Hardin, appeared at the news conference with family attorney Lee Merritt, who said they had met with a state legislator as well as previously appealed to the governor’s office and district attorney to ask a judge to issue an arrest warrant for the troopers. Merritt said they were told to trust the process and await the results of a federal investigation.
“No one has delivered any specific action,” Merritt said. “We believe in equal protection under the law. And we know if a white citizen, a fellow police officer, the governor’s child, had met the same end that Ronald Greene met, there would be action by now. ”
Hardin thanked Morial and others attending the news conference.
“We need help,” she said. “We need someone’s attention … to move these mountains.”
Various activists and members of Greene’s family also planned to march at a rally seeking justice at the state Capitol in Baton Rouge on Thursday afternoon. After remarks on the Capitol steps, the group plans to march to the Governor’s Mansion.
The video obtained by the AP and later released by state police shows troopers stunning, beating and choking Greene, 49, following an automobile chase and crash in northeast Louisiana in May 2019.
Greene’s family was initially told that he died in the car crash. State police later issued a brief statement acknowledging there was a struggle with officers and that Greene died on the way to the hospital. Since then, Greene’s death has come under investigation by state and federal authorities. It also is the subject of a lawsuit.
The video shows troopers converging on Greene’s car outside Monroe, Louisiana, after a high-speed chase that followed an unspecified traffic violation. Troopers can be seen repeatedly jolting the 49-year-old unarmed man with stun devices, putting him in a chokehold, punching him in the head and dragging him by his ankle shackles.
He also was placed facedown on the ground for more than nine minutes while restrained — a tactic use-of-force experts criticized as dangerous and likely to have restricted his breathing.
An autopsy cited the restraint and an “inflicted head injury” as factors in Greene’s death, along with cocaine-induced delirium and other injuries that might have been the result of the car crash.