Louisiana DA to request grand jury review of Ronald Greene death, says new evidence is available

Greene was pulled over after a high-speed chase but initial police reports of his death were contradicted by video and forensic evidence

The district attorney in Union Parish, Louisiana is finally indicating the intention to request a special grand jury be seated to potentially indict the Louisiana State Troopers involved in the death of Ronald Greene in 2019.

Union Parish District Attorney John Belton told The Advocate that he was holding off on moving forward with state charges because the federal government was investigating the circumstances around Greene’s death. Belton cited the feds’ “vast resources” which he said could contribute to a more thorough investigation.

Alexander Van Hook, then-acting U.S. attorney for Louisiana’s Western District, said that the feds intended to hand out indictments in fall 2021, but those have not materialized. Van Hook was replaced by appointment by Brandon Brown, who reportedly told Belton that he did not have to wait on the feds to file state charges.

Belton has indicated that there is new evidence in the case and that the federal government has promised to share investigation results and files with him.

This undated photo provided by his family in September 2020 shows Ronald Greene. (Family photo via AP, File)

“I did not recuse my office. In fact, I have maintained prosecutorial power to prosecute state crimes that occurred in my district,” Belton said. “I believe some of the officers’ actions were above the law. They committed criminal acts including violating Mr. Greene’s civil rights.”

Per the Associated Press, Greene died after leading officers on a high-speed chase that concluded in a crash. Louisiana State Troopers initially said that he died in the accident. However, extensive forensic evidence and video showed Greene pleading for his life and apologizing as officers brutally beat the 49-year-old man, contrary to the report.

Greene wails, “I’m sorry!” as a trooper delivers a stun gun shock to his backside and warns, “Look, you’re going to get it again if you don’t put your f——- hands behind your back!” Another trooper is seen briefly dragging Greene facedown after his legs were shackled and his hands cuffed behind him in the 46-minute video, released two years after the incident.

March On Washington To Protest Police Brutality
WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 28: Family members of Ronald Greene listen to speakers as they gather at the Lincoln Memorial for the March on Washington August 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. Greene died in police custody following a high-speed chase in Louisiana in 2019. Today marks the 57th anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech at the same location. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Of at least six officers involved, only Master Trooper Kory York was suspended and only for 50 hours. Another officer, Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth, who said on a recording secured by AP that he “beat the ever-living f—” out of Greene, died in a single-vehicle crash in 2020 after learning he was going to be fired.

The Advocate reports that Belton told lawmakers that former Louisiana State Police Superintendent Kevin Reeves and current Superintendent Lamar Davis are not subjects of the investigation. He also didn’t indicate which of the troopers are subject to indictment.

As previously reported, an attorney for Greene’s family, Lee Merritt, said the footage of Greene’s beating “has some of the same hallmarks of the George Floyd video, the length of it, the sheer brutality of it.”

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