THE INVESTIGATORS: Head of LSP vows change as agency releases body cam video tied to Ronald Greene’s 2019 death
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Days after parts of the video was leaked to the media showing the deadly 2019 arrest of Ronald Greene, in a short-notice news conference, Louisiana State Police addressed the matter head on, two years after the fact. Head of the agency, Colonel Lamar Davis vowed sweeping changes within the law enforcement agency and promising swift action once the investigative process concludes.
“I think it’s time for us to really take a look at what happened and for everyone to have as much factual information as possible,” Davis said.
In a push toward increased transparency, the agency released nine different clips of body camera video from four different officers late Friday, May 21. The videos provide multiple angles of what happened that night but also raise a lot of questions in the process.
Part of the video from Trooper Dakota DeMoss shows the officer cursing at Greene the moment he arrives on the scene.
“Let me see your f——king hands! Let me see your f——king hands mother f——-ker! Come here mother f—-ker,” DeMoss shouted.
The video shows troopers beat, kick and drag the 49-year-old while he was handcuffed and face down in their custody. At one point he’s hit with a stun gun and threatened that he would get more if he did not cooperate. At several points during the video Greene can be heard apologizing and it doesn’t appear to show him resisting.
“You’re about to get it again if you don’t give me your f----king hands.” DeMoss yelled.
The beating was so brutal that some of the troopers can be heard complaining about it as they wipe blood off their hands.
“I don’t think I’m cut,” one trooper said. “I just have his blood all over me.”
At no point can any trooper be seen in the video treating Greene but at one point you can see them prop him up but he doesn’t appear to be moving. After several moments, some officers can be seen muting their mics. At one point following the encounter, some of the officers can be seen leaving the area to begin talking in small groups. During one of those conversations, one officer admits Greene is not in good shape.
“The suspect’s not good… he wasn’t breathing when we put him in the ambulance,” the trooper said.
Once back in his unit, trooper Chris Hollingsworth can be heard on a call with a fellow officer. In his own words, he describes his encounter with Greene.
“I beat the every living f——k out of him. Yeah, I thought he was dead,” Hollingsworth said.
When the other officer asks Hollingsworth if the situation was caught on body camera, Hollingsworth can be seen grabbing at the camera and the video stops. Initially, LSP said Greene died after crashing his car at the end of a high speed chase but videos they released to the public today show that’s not true.
WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked Colonel Davis how something like that can exist for so long within LSP and how do they regain the public’s trust now that video refutes information the agency released early on in the case.
“Well obviously I wasn’t involved in the initial investigation so I can’t speak to what was said initially... but we regain the public’s trust by being transparent,” said Davis.
The colonel admits some of the context of what happened in the early days of the investigation may be hard to come by because some of those who were involved are no longer with the agency.
“Some of those folks are now retired so they’re not compelled to speak with me about that but it’s for those reasons that I do not have full context of what occurred during those days,” said Davis.
The colonel did say they’re making changes within the agency, starting with new leadership within troop F and reworking some of their policies for all troopers. Among the changes, chokeholds are banned unless lethal force is authorized and mandate that all use of force encounters be reported.
“They have my support but likewise when they do not abide by those policies and those procedures then I’m going to hold them accountable,” said Davis.
Perhaps one of the most notable outcomes from the news conference was that the colonel chose to offer his condolences to Ronald Greene’s family two years after he died in their custody.
“I can feel their pain and I feel it in my heart so my heart goes out to them I continue to lift them up in prayer and pray for them everyday,” said Davis.
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