Recently leaked police body cam footage of Louisiana state troopers fatally beating and tasing a man in custody contradicts the initial version claiming that Ronald Greene died on impact after crashing into a tree during a police pursuit. In a statement, the Louisiana State Police confirmed that the release of the video was unauthorized and that the department is upset that the public now has access to some of the suppressed footage.
On May 10, 2019, Louisiana State Trooper Dakota DeMoss and Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth attempted to pull over Ronald Greene for an unspecified traffic violation that escalated into a pursuit. According to police body cam footage, Greene sat in his vehicle at the end of the pursuit with his empty hands in the air as the troopers rushed toward him.
“OK, OK,” Greene told the troopers while surrendering to them. “I’m sorry. I’m scared. Officer, I’m scared. I’m your brother. I’m scared.”
Reaching through the driver’s side window, Hollingsworth shocked Greene with a stun gun as both troopers ordered him to exit the vehicle. After Greene fell to the ground, the troopers repeatedly punched and kicked him while firing a Taser into his back.
“Choked him and everything else trying to get him under control,” Hollingsworth was heard saying on a separate recording. “He was spitting blood everywhere, and all of a sudden he just went limp.”
In another video clip, Trooper Kory York grabbed Greene by the leg shackles and dragged him across his abdomen despite the fact that Greene was not resisting. Greene was left facedown and shackled for more than nine minutes before paramedics arrived to give him medical attention.
Greene died before arriving at the hospital. According to Union Parish Coroner Renee Smith, his death was ruled accidental and attributed to cardiac arrest.
The Louisiana State Police initially told Greene’s family that he died after crashing into a tree during the pursuit. A preliminary investigative report later announced that he died after resisting and struggling with law enforcement.
An emergency room doctor who saw the bruises and two stun-gun prongs in Greene’s back noted that the trooper’s account of Green simply crashing into a tree was not plausible. The doctor wrote, “Does not add up.”
In May 2020, Greene’s daughter filed a federal wrongful death suit against seven law enforcement officers that said he was “brutalized by Louisiana State Police and Union Parish Deputy Officers which caused his death.” The lawsuit alleged officers “used lethal force” against him.
In September 2020, Hollingsworth died in a single-vehicle highway crash that happened just hours after he learned that he would be fired for his role in Greene’s death. DeMoss was placed on administrative leave and arrested after allegedly beating another motorist during a separate police pursuit last year.
York was suspended for 50 hours without pay for kicking and dragging Greene during the arrest. An internal investigation also found that York intentionally turned off his body camera before arriving at the scene.
None of the state troopers involved
in Greene’s death currently face criminal charges for taking his life.