AUDIO: Louisiana trooper admits beating, choking Ronald Greene during fatal traffic stop
WARNING: THIS AUDIO CONTAINS EXPLICIT LANGUAGE.
(WAFB) - A Louisiana State Trooper, who is now deceased, is heard admitting he “beat the ever-living f---” out of a Black man during a struggle that followed a May 2019 pursuit.
The audio, obtained by WAFB-TV, is from the body-camera mic of Trooper Chris Hollingsworth.
Hollingsworth died in a single-car crash last week shortly after being told he was being fired as a result of the 2019 case.
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In the audio, Hollingsworth goes on to say the man was “spitting blood everywhere” and then “all of a sudden he just went limp.”
Despite what the trooper can be heard saying in his own words from his body camera mic, none of those graphic details made it into the actual report issued by LSP. Baton Rouge NAACP president Eugene Collins calls that unacceptable.
“The fact that he could just talk so freely and so comfortably about beating a man to death shows how morally bankrupt he was,” said Collins. “From our perspective, that speaks to a deep cover up that’s something that we would hope and not expect from the premiere law enforcement agency in our state, Louisiana State Police.”
Greene’s family is outraged and attorneys who filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the agency are calling for change within LSP. “I won’t say what’s on my mind but I’m pissed. I’m so pissed,” said Mona Hardin, Greene’s mother. “We are now thoroughly convinced of what we eventually put into that complaint that there was extreme misconduct involved in Ronald Greene’s murder,” added the family’s attorney Lee Merritt, Esq.
The 2019 case involves Ronald Greene, who died after a law enforcement chase just north of Monroe, Louisiana.
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Louisiana State Police (LSP) troopers have said the chase began after Greene did not stop when officers attempted to pull him over. Greene died at the scene.
Troopers initially blamed Greene’s death on injuries from a car crash at the end of the chase.
Here’s a full transcript of the 27-second audio clip:
Trooper Hollingsworth: (first portion is inaudible). And I beat the ever-living f--- out of him. We choked him and everything else, trying to get him under control. We finally got him in handcuffs when a third man got there. And, the son-of-a-bitch was still fighting, and was still wrestling with him and we tried to hold him down. He was spitting blood everywhere and all of a sudden he just went limp."
Citing the ongoing investigation, authorities have not released Hollingsworth’s full body cam footage.
Louisiana State Police say they launched an investigation into Greene’s death the night it happened and turned over their findings to the Union Parish District Attorney’s office nearly a year ago.
A separate federal civil rights investigation into the case has also been launched.
The audio related to this case leaked the same day another trooper, Kasha Domingue was indicted by a grand jury in Baton Rouge for shooting a teenager following a separate traffic stop. Grand jurors thought her version of what happened did not line up with video of the incident and community leaders say they are fed up with this happening time and time again.
RELATED STORY: LSP trooper now indicted in traffic stop shooting in summer 2018
WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked Collins how many times is acceptable.
“What we’re seeing now, Scottie, is consistent lies within this department. There needs to be a shakeup within this department,” Collins answered. “Consistently, we have reports not matched up with what actually happened and this is two instances in a week where we know for a fact the report did not match up with what actually happened.” While LSP has told WAFB they will not comment further on the matter until the investigations wrap up, Collins believes leadership in the top law enforcement agency in the state must answer for what is continuing to happen under their watch. “We know that most police officers are good people right and there’s just a few bad apples but in this particular situation, it seems like a few bad apples are in leadership and that should be concerning no matter what side of the fence you’re on,” said Collins.
In a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Greene’s family, they claim LSP failed to acknowledge a struggle between troopers and Greene.
In doing so, the attorney’s claim it’s unclear how any force used during that struggle may have contributed to his death.
“LSP continues to cooperate with the Union Parish District Attorney’s Office and federal officials,” an LSP spokesman said Thursday. “No further information will be released pending the conclusion of these investigations,” the spokesperson said.
WAFB’s Scottie Hunter did ask if Colonel Kevin Reeves would be available for an interview for this report. Officials with the agency said he was not available.
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