Grand jury indicts 5 law enforcement officers in deadly arrest of Ronald Greene
UNION PARISH, La. (WAFB) - Five current and former Louisiana law enforcement officers were charged with state crimes Thursday in the deadly 2019 arrest of motorist Ronald Greene.
Those charged include four troopers from Louisiana State Police and a Union Parish sheriff’s deputy. One of the troopers was charged with negligent homicide.
The criminal charges, announced Thursday evening in Union Parish, were the first to emerge from a death authorities initially blamed on a car crash before long suppressed body-camera video showed white officers beating, stunning and dragging the Black motorist as he wailed, “I’m scared!”
Greene’s bloody death on a roadside in rural northeast Louisiana got little attention until an Associated Press investigation exposed a cover-up and prompted scrutiny of top Louisiana State Police brass, a sweeping U.S. Justice Department review of the agency, and a legislative inquiry now looking at what Gov. John Bel Edwards knew and when he knew it. The indictments mean a grand jury believes there is sufficient evidence to criminally charge the accused and send the cases to trial.
Here is a listing of each law enforcement officer who was indicted:
- LSP Trooper Kory York - 1 count of negligent homicide, 10 counts of malfeasance in office. (LSP previously suspended York for 50 hours without pay as part of its probe)
- LSP Trooper John Clary - 1 count of obstruction of justice and 1 count of malfeasance in office.
- Former LSP Trooper Dakota Demoss - 1 count of obstruction of justice (Demoss is no longer with LSP. He was fired as part of an unrelated case.)
- Former LSP Troop F Captain John Peters - 1 count of obstruction of justice
- Union Parish Deputy Chris Harpin - 3 counts of malfeasance in office
Greene, a 49-year-old Black man, was brutally beaten and died in Louisiana State Police custody in 2019, following a high-speed vehicle pursuit that ended near Monroe, Louisiana.
Body camera footage shows law enforcement officers tazing and beating Greene on a dark roadway in Union Parish.
The following is a statement from Col. Lamar Davis, supt. of LSP:
Today’s indictments followed a thorough and extensive investigation by state and federal agencies.
Any instance of excessive force jeopardizes public safety and is a danger to our communities. These actions are inexcusable and have no place in professional public safety services.
As a result of today’s indictment, Trooper Kory York and Lt. John Clary will be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the legal proceedings.
Over the last two years, LSP has made fundamental improvements to our operations, training, and administration. These reforms have led to the implementation of critical changes throughout the department and the rebuilding of trust within the communities we serve.
LSP continues to offer our full cooperation in the ongoing investigations and legal proceedings.
The U.S. Justice Department is also conducting its own investigation into Greene’s death and will decide if any federal charges are warranted.
Louisiana State Trooper Chris Hollingsworth, who is now deceased, is heard admitting on his body cam audio that he “beat the ever-living fu-k” out of Greene following the pursuit.
In the audio, Hollingsworth goes on to say the motorist was “spitting blood everywhere” and then “all of a sudden he just went limp.”
RELATED: AUDIO: Louisiana trooper admits beating, choking Ronald Greene during fatal traffic stop
None of what Hollingsworth said made it into the incident report issued by Louisiana State Police. The audio was only made public the following year, in response to public records requests.
Hollingsworth died in 2020 after crashing his vehicle into a guardrail at a high rate of speed, just hours after being told he was being fired as a result of the Greene case.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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