Home News-Free Prosecutor considering charges for troopers in Ronald Greene’s death

Prosecutor considering charges for troopers in Ronald Greene’s death

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Ronald Greene, a 49-year-old Black man from Monroe, died in 2019 after a car crash and being beaten by State Police troopers. (Louisiana State Police Bodycam video via the Associated Press.)

By Piper Hutchinson
LSU Manship School News Service

BATON ROUGE–Third District Attorney John Belton told a House committee Thursday that he
will convene a grand jury to consider charges against the state troopers involved in the death of
Ronald Greene.

Greene, a black motorist, died after a violent encounter with State Police in which he was beaten,
tased and dragged while shackled after a high-speed chase that ended in a crash outside Monroe.

“It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen,” Belton told the special committee investigating the
Greene case. “I believe state and federal crimes were committed, including federal civil rights
violations.”

Belton said he is moving forward with charges because he has been giving approval to do so by
federal authorities, who had previously asked him to wait until their investigation was complete.

“I can’t promise an indictment or conviction, but I did promise to Ms. Hardin that I will continue
to seek justice for Mr. Greene and his family,” Belton said, referring to Greene’s mother Mona
Hardin.

Belton said he was told by Alexander Van Hook, then the acting U.S. attorney for the region,
that indictments would come by fall 2021. That never happened. Belton said that Brandon
Brown, who was recently named to the position, gave him the go-ahead to move forward with
charges.

Belton told the committee that federal officials have promised to share information with him.

“I did not recuse my office,” Belton said. “In fact, I have maintained prosecutorial power to
prosecute state crimes that occurred in my district.”

“I believe some of the officers’ actions were above the law,” he added. “They committed
criminal acts, including violating Mr. Greene’s civil rights.”

The Greene case came back to public attention earlier this year, three years after his death, after
the Associated Press released a report alleging that Gov. John Bel Edwards knew about the
circumstances of Greene’s death earlier than he publicly admitted.

The committee is tasked with investigating Greene’s death and whether a police coverup
occurred.

Leaked videos depicting the troopers’ violent actions led to widespread public condemnation of
their actions, but only one trooper, Kory York, ever faced punishment. York was suspended for
50 hours.

Belton did not specify which troopers might face charges. But he did tell legislators that former
State Police Superintendent Kevin Reeves and current Superintendent Lamar Davis are not under
investigation.

Belton also did not specify what charges he will seek, only telling lawmakers he will “look at
everything.”

“I will never, and I repeat, I will never make prosecutorial decisions due to political pressure or
public opinion…No one is above the law—no one,” Belton said.

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