Racial justice advocates on Wednesday accused Louisiana State Police of attempting to cover up the fatal 2019 arrest of an unarmed Black motorist whom troopers stunned, punched, kicked, dragged face-down on the pavement, and left handcuffed on the ground for more than nine minutes, after the Associated Press published video it obtained of the deadly encounter.
“They murdered him. It was set out, it was planned. He didn’t have a chance. Ronnie didn’t have a chance. He wasn’t going to live to tell about it.”
—Mona Hardin, Greene’s mother
The AP reports Lousiana State Police (LSP) officials initially told relatives of Ronald Greene that the 49-year-old barber died from injuries sustained in a car crash that occurred as he led troopers on a high-speed chase following an unspecified traffic violation outside Monroe on May 10, 2019.
However, the AP obtained police body camera footage that authorities withheld for two years showing Greene desperately apologizing as white officers brutally arrest him, repeatedly shooting him with a stun gun as he raises his hands in surrender inside his stopped car.
As Greene is attacked in his vehicle, he pleads: “I’m your brother! I’m scared! I’m scared!”
The officers—identified in a wrongful death lawsuit as Troopers Dakota Moss and Kory York and Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth—then violently remove Greene from the car and tackle him to the ground, where he is seen lying face-down as he is placed in a chokehold and punched in the face by one officer while another calls him a “stupid motherf—er.”
Greene apologizes but is stunned again before being handcuffed and shackled and then dragged across the ground. He is left there alone for over nine minutes. The troopers offered no medical assistance despite Greene’s agonized moans. Instead, they wipe his blood off their hands and faces with sanitizer sheets and one of the officers said, “I hope this guy ain’t got f–king AIDS.”
Several minutes later in the footage, Greene is seen lying limp and unresponsive, with blood flowing from his face and head. An ambulance eventually arrives and Greene is shackled onto a gurney and taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
In a separate body camera microphone recording previously obtained by the AP, Hollingsworth boasts to colleagues that he “beat the ever-living f–k out of” Greene.
“Choked him and everything else trying to get him under control,” Hollingsworth says in the audio recording. “He was spitting blood everywhere, and all of a sudden he just went limp.”
Last September, Hollingsworth died following a single-vehicle highway accident hours after learning he would lose his job over his role in Greene’s death.
According to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Greene’s family, the troopers’ excessive use of force left their victim “beaten, bloodied, and in cardiac arrest.”
“They murdered him. It was set out, it was planned,” Greene’s mother, Mona Hardin, told the AP on Wednesday. “He didn’t have a chance. Ronnie didn’t have a chance. He wasn’t going to live to tell about it.”
Lee Merritt, an attorney for Greene’s family, said the footage “has some of the same hallmarks of the George Floyd video, the length of it, the sheer brutality of it. He apologized in an attempt to surrender. This was a malicious attack on the side of the road on a fully surrendered man.”
Earlier this month, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering Floyd, an unarmed Black man, by placing his knee on his neck for more than nine minutes last May.
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