MONROE, Louisiana — More than a year and a half after Louisiana state soldiers brutally captured black motorist Ronald Greene on body camera video during his fatal arrest, police brass is still in a high-end car accident. But they were trying to blame his death. Speed chase.
According to internal documents obtained by the Associated Press, police officers quietly launched a study late last year into whether the accident could have played a role in Green’s 2019 death, behind the scenes to reduce the agency’s legal liability. part of the bid.
Despite footage showing soldiers rattling, punching and dragging the unarmed man, the effort was made – and despite a soldier’s confession that he was beaten in the head with a torch, the use of deadly force had not been previously reported.
The document, which also detailed how the four soldiers exaggerated Green’s threat to justify their use of force, provided the fullest account of the May 10, 2019 arrest so far. We do. And they show the extent to which top officials and soldiers tried to hide or explain actions in a case that is now the focus of a federal civil rights investigation.
“It’s horrible,” Greene’s mother Mona Hardin told the AP. “There’s nothing they can say to change, to distort, what’s shown. I don’t care how they want to coat it, what kind of paint they want to layer over this mess – They can’t erase it.
Greene, a 49-year-old barber, failed to pull over for a traffic violation and was following soldiers at a midnight chase in rural northern Louisiana at 185 kilometers per hour before his car stopped at a roadside stop near Monroe. led.
Troopers told Green’s relatives hours later that he died under the impact after hitting a tree, an explanation called for by photographs of Green’s body showing his bruised and battered face, a hospital report said. It is said that he had two stun guns in his back. , and the fact that his SUV had only suffered minor damage.
Even the Louisiana State Police later backtracked from the crash explanation, when they released a one-page statement that said Greene was clashing with soldiers who were trying to arrest him. and died on the way to the hospital.
The truth about what actually happened began to emerge last month when the AP obtained and published body camera video that showed soldiers converting on Green’s car, repeatedly jolting him with a stun gun, hitting him on the ground. But he was slammed, put in a chokehold and punched. face, while he apologizes and cries for mercy. A soldier can later be seen dragging a chainsaw green facedown and then left in an unresponsive state for more than nine minutes, before eventually becoming unresponsive.
But even after seeing that footage internally, and three weeks after showing Green’s family in private, ranking police officers blamed the man’s death in a car accident last November. He quietly asked an accident reconstructor to speculate that “G-Force” Green might have been harmed in the accident, suggesting that it may have been responsible for his fatal injuries.
Although the autopsy listed Greene’s cause of death as “cocaine-induced agitated delirium complicated by motor vehicle collision, physical conflict, head injury, and abstinence”, it remained unresolved specifically as to whether some of Green’s most significant The injuries—a fractured breastbone and lacerated aorta—were caused by accidents or state soldiers.
A high-ranking officer, Captain John Peters, wrote in an email to a state police attorney in November that the crash reconstructor had estimated that Green’s vehicle had a “violent twist” – combined with the “impact” and sudden motion when the chase ended Reduction – “Produced a force of about 19g.” Aortic rupture can occur in accidents, experts said, but depends on several factors.
“This can have significant value on the civilian side as we try to reduce our percentage of liability,” he said.
State police attorney Faye Morrison responded: “It would certainly cause significant death and damage.”
Morrison was reappointed this week as the agency was investigating his role in the Green case.
State Police spokesman Captain Nick Manale said the reconstruction of the accident was “part of an ongoing investigation.”
“It reflects misguided efforts and attention,” said Rafael Goyneche, a former prosecutor who is the chairman of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, a New Orleans-based watchdog group. “They are focusing more on civil liability issues than on the conduct of soldiers.”
Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth told investigators that Greene had “no obvious injuries” when he ran the man’s SUV after being chased.
Hollingsworth, who was later recorded as saying that “he always beat the living f—” Greene told investigators that he knew the head was a “red zone” of lethal force, but that Greene He admitted to hitting him in the head three times. Torchlight and blow him six times with a stun gun for fear of his own safety.
“He was much bigger than me and much stronger, and that had already prevented the two soldiers from being able to handcuff,” Hollingsworth said. “Once I broke my grip, he could do anything.”
Showing Gurney photos of Green’s body, Hollingsworth admitted that the flashlight may have caused half-moon-shaped wounds on his head, but added, “I’m not a doctor.”
Police spokesman Manale did not comment on Hollingsworth’s use of deadly force. Hollingsworth died in an auto accident last year, just hours after learning that he would be fired for his role in Green’s arrest.
Documents show that Hollingsworth and three other soldiers escalated Green’s resistance too much to justify the use of force, with one investigator saying he had survived “a fight for his life” and the other falsely Arguing that even after Green was cuffed and handcuffed, he was “persistent”. move, try to get up. “
But investigators said those concerns were not justified based on body camera footage that showed Greene raising his hand and repeatedly saying, “Okay, okay. I’m sorry” and “I’m sorry.” I’m your brother! I’m scared! I’m scared!”
“I fought a woman with me and fought a bigger fight than what I see on this video,” commented one investigator, Hollingsworth and another responding soldier Dakota DeMoss never gave Green a chance to surrender.
DeMos, who was recently fired, also admitted to investigators that it was a “rookie move” that left Green handcuffed and holding his hands and feet on the ground for more than nine minutes – a His use of the tactic has been criticized by experts as dangerous and potentially restricting his breathing.
DeMos said that when he learned that Greene had died, he “got a knot in his stomach”.
“I could tell by the way the paramedics were looking at each other,” he told investigators. “I feel this gut-wrenching sick right now.”