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EXCLUSIVE AUDIO: Former LSP head questioned by La. Speaker of House on Ronald Greene

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Published: Mar. 18, 2022 at 4:56 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 18, 2022 at 5:35 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Exclusive new audio obtained by the 9News Investigators revealed what was said when retired Louisiana State Police (LSP) superintendent Kevin Reeves and his legal team met privately with Louisiana House Speaker Clay Schexnayder (R - Gonzales) earlier this year to discuss Ronald Greene’s death investigation.

File photo of Louisiana Rep. Clay Schexnayder, (R-Gonzales) | Photo Source: Madeline Meyer /...
File photo of Louisiana Rep. Clay Schexnayder, (R-Gonzales) | Photo Source: Madeline Meyer / LSU Manship School News Service(Madeline Meyer / LSU Manship School News Service)

Much of the focus from the 18-minute clip deals with Schexnayder wanting clarification on what Governor John Bel Edwards knew about the case, and how soon after Greene’s death was the governor informed of the details.

WAFB file photo from January 31, 2020, of former Col. Kevin Reeves when he was the...
WAFB file photo from January 31, 2020, of former Col. Kevin Reeves when he was the superintendent of Louisiana State Police. (WAFB)

Schexnayder is heard pressing Reeves about the timeline. Reeves insists he only sent the governor a text message with preliminary information, that didn’t even include Greene’s name. Reeves claims he did not brief the governor on the matter in the first year or so following the incident.

“Was the governor or his staff ever briefed other than that text on the Ronald Greene incident?” asked Schexnayder

“You’re talking about 2019 to the end of 2019? Umm.. not really anything significant that I can remember, honestly,” responded Reeves.

Reeves headed up LSP at the time of Greene’s death in 2019.

“Just me personally, I find that hard to believe. I find it hard to believe that somebody, not saying you, somebody in state police did not brief him or him and his staff that something this major happened,” said Schexnayder. “For the time that it took him to respond, I think that in itself says a lot. And, I think for him not to respond like he did, my gut tells me he was briefed, maybe not by you, but he was briefed. It’s just a gut instinct....when you look at how he responded to George Floyd, and you look at how he responded to Will Smith, and you look at how he responded to Alton Sterling, it was instant.”

FULL RECORDING IN VIDEO BELOW

Officials said Greene refused to pull over for a traffic stop and led troopers on a chase across northern Louisiana. That chase ended when Greene’s vehicle crashed into a tree, documents state.

Greene’s family claimed they were told he died as a result of the crash, but LSP leaders claim they never said that. Later investigations revealed Greene survived the crash and became unresponsive after a violent encounter with law enforcement.

Schexnayder formed Louisiana’s Special Committee to Inquire into the Circumstances and Investigation of the Death of Ronald Greene. Their investigation focuses on allegations that law enforcement attempted to cover up certain facts about the death. It also probes the publication of dozens of text messages and emails showing staffers in the governor’s office attempting to manage a response to fallout over Greene’s death.

Reeves goes on to tell Schexnayder that he does not believe anyone from state police besides himself spoke with the governor about the case.

The audio also provides a better timeline of how state police was handling the case in the days and weeks after Greene’s death.

Reeves admits he did not read the reports, and instead, trusted those in charge of the investigation to handle the case.

“There’s this misconception that this was at the top of our plate. My position as superintendent was, I’m not in detectives,” said Reeves. “I should not be directing investigations. I should not be putting my finger in it. Let the detectives do their work.. give me an honest report. I don’t even read the reports.”

One thing Reeves admits he wishes he had done differently was speaking out publicly about the case.

“It probably hurt us that we didn’t speak out a lot about it. We round tabled doing some public statements in 2020 and I just wasn’t in favor of it,” said Reeves.

Schexnayder, a Republican, and the Edwards, who is a Democrat, have largely butted heads about the handling of the case. In the audio, Schexnayder explains why.

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Working to make changes for state police

“The one thing that I fear more than anything is that I think he is end up throwing some good troopers under the bus. That’s my impression. And I will tell him this. From where he started, to where he is now, it’s a whole different boat,” said Schexnayder.

When reached by text message Friday, March 18, Schexnayder said all anyone in Louisiana wants is the truth, and that’s what he’s sought out, “since day one.”

Reeves was in the hot seat Tuesday, March 18, as state lawmakers on the special committee questioned him about the case. During that hearing Reeves’s attorney, Lewis Unglesby, first mentioned the “lengthy” interview between Reeves and Schexnayder.

Reeves is personally paying for Unglesby’s services, a spokesperson for Louisiana State Police confirmed. The attorney’s services typically come at a high price.

The governor’s office referred WAFB to its previous statement about the special committee’s investigation which says, “I am certain that any fair and impartial investigation will conclude that I made no attempt to impede or interfere with any investigation into Mr. Greene’s death. Any allegation to the contrary is simply not true.”

Read more from the committee’s first hearing by clicking here.

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