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News that JBE knew details of Greene death within hours, LSP ‘sanitizing’ phones of Reeves raise serious questions


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A couple of interesting details have come to light in the Ronald Greene matter that leave me scratching my head and wondering what the hell’s going on.

Greene, you may recall, was beaten, kicked, and tased to death in May 2019 by Louisiana State Troopers from Troop F in Monroe. Officers had attempted to pull Greene over in Ouachita Parish but he fled and was not caught until he crashed his car into a tree in Union Parish.

Reasons for his fleeing are unknown since no drugs, alcohol, or weapons were in his vehicle.

State Police initially said he died from injuries sustained in the collision with the tree, but that was a lie. His injuries from the wreck, if any, were minor. It wasn’t until video of the assault by five troopers and a Union Parish sheriff’s deputy surfaced a full year after the accident that the truth became known.

State Police had denied the existence of any body cam video. That also was a lie.

So, here are the details that puzzle me about the entire matter:

Gov. Edwards was told via a text message from then-State Police Superintendent Kevin Reeves at 10 a.m. on May 10, 2019, nine hours after Greene’s death, that Greene had died following a “violent, lengthy struggle.”

Edwards was involved in a close race for reelection and chose not to do the right thing, instead taking the coward’s way out by saying and doing NOTHING.

I was under the impression that we elected him to honor the West Point Code of Honor and to stand up for the right thing no matter the consequences. I guess I was wrong because for two years after Greene’s death, he continued to push the story that Greene died in the wreck.

On the Jim Engster Show on Louisiana Public Radio, Edwards hedged on that position only slightly when he said in response to a question from a listener, “Did he die from injuries sustained in the accident? Obviously, he didn’t die in the accident itself because he was still alive when the troopers were engaging with him. But what was the cause of death? I don’t know that that was falsely portrayed.”

That was in September, long after the video of the assault had become public.

Last July, a MEMO surfaced that showed that Louisiana State Police asked staff members not to destroy Ronald Greene case files. The memo, leaked to Baton Rouge TV station WBRZ, advised all Department of Public Safety agency staff to “preserve potential evidence by taking the appropriate steps to ensure that potential evidence relevant to the Ronald Greene matter is preserved and not deleted, damaged, or destroyed.”

That makes sense. After all, any documents, texts, or emails could come into play in any anticipated litigation over Greene’s death.

Yet…yet, we learn that State Police SANITIZED the cellphones of Reeves and former police commander Mike Noel, who resigned just as he was set to be questioned about the case by lawmakers whose consent was required for Noel’s consideration for the position of Louisiana Gambling Board chairman.

Sanitized, of course, is a euphemism for wiping, or erasing the contents of the phones. State Police said it was customary to take such action, but this was no ordinary situation. These phones contained evidence, including that text message to Gov. Edwards of May 10, 2019.

What else might have been on those phones? We’ll never know, but we do know that Doug Cain, promoted to lieutenant colonel soon after Reeves retired, attempted to SHUT DOWN the INVESTIGATION into Greene’s death.

But for all the hoopla over the Greene case, it’s just one of a disturbing trend of police violence against African Americans for the offense of DRIVING WHILE BLACK – by state and municipal police officers.

From the almost casual use of ATTACK DOGS on victims by Lake Charles police to the brutal beating of a black man arrested for the crime of blocking a sidewalk with his car by a HAMMOND POLICE SERGEANT later promoted to Chief of Police, a beating described by a consultant hired by the City Council as “one of the most abusive uses of force” that he has ever investigated, there is ample evidence of cops run amok.

This was Seth Stoughton, an attorney and former police officer who teaches at the University of South Carolina School of Law who made that observation. He served as prosecution expert in the 2021 trial of Minneapolis police officer Derek Cauvin, so he knows a little about police brutality.

Still, Hammond Mayor Pete Panepinto refused to discipline officers and even promoted Sgt. Edwin Bergeron, the one who initiated the attack on Kendrick Ratliff, to police chief. Panepinto continues to support the officers despite overwhelming VIDEO EVIDENCE that officers were out of control in their zeal to beat Ratliff to a pulp.

The lesson to be learned here, I suppose, is to expect police to circle the wagons in an effort to cover up their own crimes. That will include denying the existence of body cam video, destruction of texts, emails, and other communication. Given the opportunity and if it occurs to them, they will turn off their body cams or at least mute them so as to eliminate any screams from tasing, beating, and kicking.

I never thought I’d write such a diatribe against law enforcement. They’ve always been my heroes, my protectors. But now I see a different breed of cop. There are those within State Police that see it, too. One State Trooper, who created an email account under the pseudonym of Toussaint Louverture, has for months now been critical of LSP administration.

Today, Louverture posted a lengthy “told you so” email in which he reminded us that he has said all along that Edwards knew the details of Greene’s death but has said and done nothing.

“In previous emails,” he wrote, “I have stated that there was no possible way that Governor John Bel Edwards did not have any knowledge of Louisiana State Police Troopers beating ‘the ever living f**k’ out of Ronald Greene days after it took place. I also stated that Governor Edwards chose his political career, which was heavenly supported by blacks, over a black man’s life. But most of us choose to ignore this. Either because we are politically connected to Edwards, wanted to be promoted, tied to a paycheck or just lack the courage to be a decent human being. But Ronald Greene was murdered by LSP Troopers.”

“Well, here we are two years later and all we have is a murdered black man, an ongoing departmental coverup, and a political game of charades going on,” he wrote.

I couldn’t have said it better.

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