BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The same Louisiana State Police unit whose troopers stunned, punched & dragged Ronald Greene on video during a deadly 2019 arrest is now under internal investigation by a secret panel over whether its officers are systematically targeting Black motorists for abuse.
The panel, whose existence was confirmed to The Associated Press by four people familiar with it, was set up in response to Greene’s death as well as three other violent stops of Black men: one who was punched, stunned and hoisted to his feet by his hair braids in a body-camera video obtained by the AP, another who was beaten after he was handcuffed, & yet another who was slammed 18 times with a flashlight.
“Every time I told him to stop he’d hit me again,” said Aaron Bowman, whose flashlight pummeling left him with three broken ribs, a broken jaw, a broken wrist & a gash to his head that required six staples to close. “I don’t want to see this happen to nobody — not to my worst enemy.”
The panel began working a few weeks ago to review thousands of body-camera videos over the past two years involving as many as a dozen white troopers, at least four of whom were involved in Greene’s arrest.
“You’d be naïve to think it’s limited to two or three instances. That’s why you’re seeing this audit, which is a substantial undertaking by any agency,” said Rafael Goyeneche, a former prosecutor who is president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, a New Orleans-based watchdog group. “They’ve got to identify these people & remove them from the organization.”
Other than the federal civil rights investigation into Greene’s death, the state police panel is the only known inquiry into possible systemic abuse and racism by its troopers.
Secrecy has permeated the Greene case from the beginning.
Soon after Greene’s May 10, 2019, death, troopers told his relatives he died in a crash following a chase on a rural road near Monroe. Later, State Police issued a one-page statement saying that troopers struggled with Greene during his arrest & that he died on the way to the hospital.
For more than two years, Louisiana officials from Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards down rebuffed repeated requests to release the body-camera video of Greene’s arrest.
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