Two years after Ronald Greene died after an encounter with Louisiana State Police, the agency released the video footage recorded by body cameras that night, Superintendent Col. Lamar Davis said at a Friday news conference.
The news comes the same day that CNN obtained an autopsy report from the night Greene died in 2019 as well as one of the body camera videos. The recording is from a Louisiana State Police trooper who arrived as other officers attempting to arrest Greene had him on the ground.
Davis opened his remarks by offering his “sincere condolences” to Greene’s family.
He then said: “It’s unfortunate that the path to get here has taken this long.”
Davis said the department was releasing all the video related to the case and the ongoing criminal investigation. State police began investigating Greene’s death a few hours after he died on May 10, 2019, Davis said, adding that it remains under investigation by state and federal agencies.
Bodycam video from police officers at the scene of his fatal encounter was released to media outlets over this past week without state police approval, Davis said.
The autopsy lists Greene’s cause of death as “cocaine induced agitated delirium complicated by motor vehicle collision, physical struggle, inflicted head injury, and restraint,” according to the report, obtained from a source with knowledge of the investigation.
New video appears to show different perspective
The new video, obtained by CNN before its release by state police, appears to show a different perspective from the scene than recordings previously released by The Associated Press.
A trooper who appears to be a supervisor is seen arriving at the scene after Greene has been detained, and appears to praise the troopers, though it’s not clear why or what he knew about the incident at the time.
“You all did a good job, you all called it out, did a good job,” he says.
He asks if the troopers are OK, and one is heard to say, “Yes sir, just wiping the blood off me.”
Greene’s damaged vehicle can be seen behind where an officer is standing over him.
Greene is lying on the ground screaming and moaning when a trooper is heard telling Greene not to turn over.
“Lay on your belly, lay on your belly” says the trooper.
“Yes sir,” says Greene.
With Greene now propped up against a trooper’s leg, one asks him why he ran from police.
“All you did is speed a little bit and run a red light,” the trooper says.
“I was just tired,” Greene answers.
Greene ends up face first on the ground, moaning with two troopers holding him, a trooper says, “I was going to sit him up, but I didn’t want him spitting blood all over us.”
Greene is not visible in most of the 30-minute video. In the moments where Greene is visible, he doesn’t appear to be resisting police.
In parts of the video that show Greene, no troopers appear to be attempting to provide medical support.
According to the family’s lawsuit, a trooper called for an ambulance, and emergency technicians determined that Greene was in cardiac arrest after they arrived at the scene and found him unresponsive.
Medical personnel are eventually visible on scene about halfway through the portion of video obtained by CNN.
While earlier in the new bodycam footage Greene can be heard moaning, he is not audible when he is taken from the scene on a gurney.
The AP on Wednesday had posted three clips, totaling just over two minutes in length, from video the AP said was 46 minutes long.
That video shows Greene face down on the road after the crash outside the city of Monroe being tased and kicked by trooper as he tells them he is scared.
Two troopers involved in the incident were reprimanded for their actions that night two years ago, including not following procedures for body-worn cameras.
Trooper Chris Hollingsworth was to be terminated for violations regarding body-worn camera and car camera systems, use of force, performance, lawful orders, and also for conduct unbecoming an officer. But he died in a car crash before he could be fired, according to Davis. Before his death, Hollingsworth was heard in an audio recording last year describing beating “the ever-living f***” out of Greene.
Trooper Dakota DeMoss has been notified of the department’s intent to fire him and remains on leave “pending the conclusion of disciplinary proceedings, related to a separate excessive use of force investigation.”
Trooper Kory York completed a 50-hour suspension and returned to duty pending the outcome of the review by federal and state authorities.
CNN has reached out to an attorney for DeMoss but has not heard back. On Wednesday, York’s attorney, Jay Adams, told CNN, “We have no comment on this pending litigation at this time.”
Autopsy says it is uncertain how Greene was injured
The autopsy, prepared by the Union Parish Coroner’s Office, states in its opinion section that lacerations of Greene’s head were “inconsistent with motor vehicle collision injury and most consistent with multiple impacts from a blunt object.”
The report notes that “no written incident report was provided despite requests,” and that “no detailed information regarding the motor vehicle collision … was provided. It also notes that “no emergency services medical records were provided” to the coroner’s office.
“Whether this injury is due to trauma from the motor vehicle collision, subsequent struggle, or is resuscitative in nature cannot be stated with certainty. These findings can be associated with motor vehicle collision, but may also be seen in other circumstances, including inflicted injury during a struggle and/or related to resuscitative efforts (CPR),” the report said.
There were significant levels of cocaine and alcohol in Greene’s blood, the report says.
The AP reported last year that Union Parish Coroner Renee Smith said Greene’s death was ruled accidental and was attributed to cardiac arrest.
CNN has reached out to the coroner’s office for comment on the report. The autopsy does not list the manner of death (accidental, homicide, natural causes, suicide or undetermined).
‘I’m disgusted,” mom says
Greene’s mother, Mona Hardin, said she is upset that the troopers involved are still on the state’s payroll. An attorney for the family, Ron Haley, said the two troopers should be arrested but they are not the only ones.
“Everyone that put their hands on Ronald Greene should be arrested and two minutes after they are arrested, anyone who participated in the cover-up should follow them right into the jail cell,” he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
Hardin said she has been frustrated by the actions of authorities.
“It’s been a battle from the moment we heard of (his death),” she said.
Two years later her family continues to suffer, she told CNN.
“There’s no words for how mad I am. I’m disgusted,” she said.
She said state police initially told them her son died on impact when his car crashed on after a police pursuit.
Hardin said she only saw a bit of video and doesn’t know whether she can bear to watch more.
And the fact that DeMoss and York are, as of now, still employed by the state police says “a lot about the damn state of Louisiana,” she said.
Crash report doesn’t mention struggle; separate document says investigation into death started that day
The initial crash report from state police made no mention of troopers using force or arresting Greene.
That crash report said two troopers pursued a vehicle being driven by Greene following an attempt to pull him over for an unspecified traffic violation, and the pursuit ended when Greene crashed his vehicle.
A separate state police document noted that the Louisiana State Police Criminal Investigations Division was called about an hour after the crash to investigate Greene’s in-custody death.
That document — an initial complaint by the investigations division — says “Greene was taken into custody after resisting arrest and a struggle with troopers.”
“A short time later Greene became unresponsive and was transported to Glenwood Medical Center by Pafford Medical Service,” the initial complaint reads.
He died on the way to the hospital, the initial complaint reads.
In May 2020, Greene’s daughter filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against seven law enforcement officers that said Greene was “brutalized by Louisiana State Police and Union Parish Deputy Officers which caused his death.” The lawsuit alleged officers “used lethal force” against him.
Hardin, Greene’s mother, told CNN Thursday that two investigative officers told the family shortly after the death that Greene crashed into a tree during a pursuit.
The lawsuit alleges “one officer told Greene’s mother that he had been killed immediately after hitting a tree.”
The lawsuit said an initial report from the Glenwood Medical Center listed the principal cause of Greene’s death as cardiac arrest. He was also diagnosed with an “unspecified injury of head,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also cites a GCM emergency room physician who allegedly noted that differing accounts about what happened to Greene did not “add up.”
“Upon obtaining more history from different law enforcement personnel, history seems to be disjointed and does not add up. Different versions are present,” the lawsuit quotes the physician as saying.
“Family states they were told by law enforcement that patient died on impact with (tree) immediately after motor vehicle accident, but law enforcement state to me that patient for [sic] out of the car and was running and involved in a fight and struggle” and was “tased 3 times.”