Groups of activists gathered on Thursday (May 27) to demand justice for Ronald Greene, a Black motorist who was killed in the custody of Louisiana State troopers. As CBS affiliate WWL reported, leaders of the National Urban League joined other civil rights groups at a news conference where they called for Lt. John Clary, Kory York, Chris Hollingsworth and Dakota DeMoss to be fired, arrested and criminally charged in connection with Greene’s death.
“Mr. Greene was killed by these state troopers,” said former New Orleans mayor and Urban League president Marc Morial. “After seeing that video, no reasonable person could come to any other conclusion other than a crime has been committed by Louisiana state troopers.”
“Make no mistake: Ron Greene was murdered at the hands of Louisiana State Police,” civil rights attorney Ron Haley added.
The news conference comes after a new report showed that Clary lied about several details of the arrest, including the fact that he didn’t have his body camera footage activated during the arrest. Investigators learned he actually turned off the camera after a fellow trooper told him that it was on.
Clary also claimed that Greene posed a threat when he resisted arrest, adding he was “yelling,” “screaming” and “trying to get away” from the troopers. Footage, however, showed Greene being restrained in a prone position while saying “I’m sorry,” “I’m scared” and “Yes sir.” He also appeared to be “gasping for air,” but the troopers refused to sit him up because they didn’t want him to spit up blood. They let Greene up after some time, but his head was on his chest, preventing him from getting a clear airway. That part of the footage conflicted with Clary’s claim that troopers “immediately held his head up” so he could breathe.
Troopers initially said that Greene died after his high-speed chase with police ended in a fatal crash but later revealed there was a scuffle on the way to the hospital. Body camera footage finally released two years later, proving excessive use of force was also used.
No arrests have been made in connection with the death, prompting Greene’s family attorney to call out the lack of action. “No one has delivered any specific action,” Lee Merritt said at the conference. “We believe in equal protection under the law. And we know if a white citizen, a fellow police officer, the governor’s child had met the same end that Ronald Greene met, there would be action by now. ”
“We need help,” Greene’s mother, Mona Hardin, added. “We need someone’s attention to help, to move these mountains.”