After Ronald Greene died after being beaten and tased by Louisiana State troopers in 2019, and after the surfacing of evidence that points toward a potential cover up in the matter, Black lawmakers are calling for help from the federal government.
According to a Tuesday (July 6) report from The Advocate, Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus chair Rep. Ted James and the rest of the group have requested that U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice investigate the Louisiana State Police.
Speaking specifically, the letter calls for Garland to conduct a “top to bottom” “pattern or practice” investigation, which is the type that enables the federal government to get involved with local cases and potentially demand reform for the police force. The goal is to examine any potential systemic issues, which James notes in the letter.
“The simple fact that Mr. Greene was killed in police custody was a tragedy; the attempts to cover it up and place blame on the victim are shameful,” reads the letter, which also says there’s a “massive and systemic coverup” at work. “The Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus requests the Department of Justice to investigate the Louisiana State Police and unearth the true roots of these issues so that we may commit to our citizens some measures of safety and protection.”
Greene died after being involved in a chase with the police on May 10, 2019. At one point during the incident, the troopers beat and tased Greene. They also pulled him by his shackles and dragged him across the ground before he died.
Although police say that Greene died as a result of an accident he was in at the conclusion of the chase, an autopsy report, one that was released two years after Greene’s death, said that the man died of “cocaine induced agitated delirium complicated by motor vehicle collision, physical struggle, inflicted head injury and restraint.” The last part would appear to have connection to the actions of the troopers.
James and the rest of the Black Caucus think that the officers involved should be arrested. To date, none of them have. The probe they’re requesting also looks into the beating of Aaron Bowman, whom troopers struck with a flashlight 18 times in 2019.
Last month, it was reported that Louisiana State Police were under an internal investigation by a “secret” panel to determine whether the department is targeting Black drivers in instances of brutality.