Ronald Greene was a motorist who fled from police and died crashing his vehicle, according to Louisiana State Police. It recently emerged that Greene was pulled alive from the car and died in police custody, and now it is reported that the ranking officer on the scene concealed his bodycam footage for two years and lied to internal investigators about the incident. CNN:
Lt. John Clary's body camera and dash camera of the May 10, 2019, incident were among nine videos released by Louisiana State Police during a Friday news conference by Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Lamar Davis.The circumstances of Greene's death have drawn fresh attention after the release of videos — initially by the Associated Press and then by the Louisiana State Police — showing the encounter with police. Greene, a 49-year-old Black man, died after what the police described as resisting arrest and a struggle with officers. However, his family said that they were told that Greene died in a car crash after a police chase. Greene's family filed a federal wrongful death suit on May 6, 2020, alleging he was "brutalized by Louisiana State Police and Union Parish Deputy Officers which caused his death."
Investigators wrote in a six-page report filed less than three weeks ago that Clary's description of Greene's demeanor after he was cuffed on a dark roadside near Monroe was clearly a mischaracterization. Though they did not state it explicitly, the false statements were apparently intended to justify further uses of force by troopers against the prone Greene that included dragging him facedown by his ankle shackles and spraying him in the face with pepper spray…The report added that Clary's own video, published last week by the AP and later released by the state, shows Greene "lying on the ground, face down, handcuffed behind his back, leg shackles on his ankles, uttering the phrases, 'I'm sorry', or 'I'm scared' or 'Yes sir' or 'Okay."'
WBRZ reports that as soon as Clary realized his bodycam was recording, he turned it off:
Clary cannot claim he was unaware his body camera was recording, the investigators noted, citing a moment on his video when he points to his own camera in an apparent warning to one of his troopers at the scene of Greene's arrest. At another point, the records say, a trooper "pointed out that Lt. Clary's body camera was recording, causing Lt. Clary to immediately turn it off."
The videos were never released—officials and police in Louisiana simply refused to do so—but they were eventually leaked the the AP.
State police also did not open an administrative investigation into the troopers' use of force until 474 days after Greene's death. And Louisiana officials from Gov. John Bel Edwards on down repeatedly refused to publicly release any body camera video of Greene's arrest for more than two years, until last week after AP began publishing videos it obtained.