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State trooper lied about existence of Ronald Greene bodycam footage, report shows

The Louisiana State Trooper involved in Greene’s death also falsely claimed he resisted arrest.

Robert Greene Louisiana State Police

The Louisiana State Trooper involved in Ronald Greene’s death lied and said he didn’t have body camera footage from the 2019 arrest, the Associated Press found. Lt. John Clary also falsely claimed that Greene resisted arrest and posed a threat while he and other troopers beat, pepper-sprayed and dragged the shackled, 49-year-old Black man.

Body camera footage from Greene’s fatal arrest only emerged earlier this month, two years after his death. The white state troopers — Clary, Kory York, Chris Hollingsworth and Dakota DeMoss — initially told Greene’s family that he died in a car accident after a high-speed chase with police.

Then, they admitted there had been a struggle and said Greene died on his way to the hospital. However, the troopers never mentioned their use of force, which bodycam footage showed included punching and jolting Greene with stun guns, putting him in a chokehold, handcuffing him in the prone position and ignoring his gasps for air.

According to the Associated Press, Clary told investigators that Greene “was still yelling and screaming... and he was still resisting even though he was handcuffed. He was still trying to get away and was not cooperating.”

Upon viewing the bodycam footage, though, investigators found several inconsistencies in Clary’s story.

“The video evidence in this case does not show Greene screaming, resisting or trying to get away,” Detective Albert Paxton wrote in the new report, obtained by AP. “The only screams revealed by the video were when Greene responded to force applied to him.”

The report added that Greene was instead “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.”’

Also in the footage, Greene could be seen trying to turn over onto his side while he was lying face-down and handcuffed. Investigators said Greene appeared to be “gasping for air” and was trying to turn over so he could breathe, but Clary and the other troopers ordered him not to move. According to the footage, Greene was restrained in the prone position for more than nine minutes.

Clary also claimed to investigators that he and the other troopers sat Greene up and “immediately held his head up so he could get a clear airway.”

However, this was also a lie. In the video, Clary and the other troopers said they didn’t want to help Greene sit up because they were worried he would spit blood on them. When they finally did sit him up, they let Greene’s head stay slumped down on his chest and didn’t help him get a clear airway for almost six minutes.

Investigators also noted that Clary turned off his body camera after another trooper warned him that it was on. “[The trooper] pointed out that Lt. Clary’s body camera was recording, causing Lt. Clary to immediately turn it off,” the report reads.

Clary, a 31-year veteran of the Louisiana State Police department, was never disciplined for Greene’s death. The department also did not even launch an administrative investigation into the incident until over a year later and Louisiana officials actively tried to stop the bodycam footage from being publicly released.

According to State Police spokesman Capt. Nick Manale, the department is currently looking into why Clary’s bodycam footage was not identified in their initial investigation.

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