Louisiana State Police records show use of racial slurs by officers: report

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Louisiana State Police records obtained by The Associated Press reportedly show at least a dozen instances of racial slurs and other discriminatory comments directed at minority police officers by their white colleagues throughout a three-year period.

According to the AP, department records and emails were initially gathered by New Orleans attorney David Lanser through a public-records request in 2018 for emails containing racist language.

“The State Police has a real, deep-rooted racism problem,” Lanser told the AP. “Denying the existence of systemic and individual racism in the LSP will only serve to perpetuate its serious and often tragic effects on the people of Louisiana.”

This comes after a local television station reported last month that a white trooper was unknowingly recorded through his Apple Watch using a racial slur when talking about a Black colleague, saying “F—– n—-, what did you expect?”

The recording was then accidentally sent to the Black trooper, launching an internal investigation that remained unknown to the public for three years. 

“I believe this to be an isolated incident and I have great confidence in the men and women who serve in the Louisiana State Police,” the agency’s outgoing head, Col. Kevin Reeves, said at the time. 

However, the AP on Friday published its review of police department documents, which showed several instances of employees forwarding racist emails on their police department accounts with subject lines such as “PROUD TO BE WHITE.” 

Other emails reportedly included derogatory comments when referring to officials of minority groups, including names like “Hershey’s Kiss,” “Django” and “Egg Roll.”

On Tuesday, Reeves announced he would be resigning from his role at the end of the month amid ongoing allegations of covering up information surrounding the in-custody death of 49-year-old Black man Ronald Greene in May 2019. The incident is now part of an ongoing civil rights investigation into the department. 

Reeves’s announcement on his retirement did not mention the Greene case. 

The AP reported that on Friday, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) appointed a Black State Police captain, Lamar Davis, to succeed Reeves, who is white. 

Reeves did not respond to a request for comment from the AP, and a State Police spokesman said that the incidents the AP found in the department’s emails and documents “were already addressed by the agency.”

Earlier this month, Greene’s family was shown previously unreleased graphic footage of troopers choking and beating the man. The family viewed the half-hour video during a meeting with Edwards. 

Greene’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit last year alleging state troopers “brutalized” Greene and “left him beaten, bloodied and in cardiac arrest.” The family also asserted that authorities covered up the actual cause of death.

The meeting with the Louisiana governor came after the AP released a 27-second audio clip from Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth, who died in a car crash last month hours after learning he had been fired for his role in the incident with Greene.

In the audio clip, Hollingsworth can be heard telling a colleague, “I beat the ever-living f— out of him,” among other allegedly abusive rhetoric.

Tags John Bel Edwards Louisiana Louisiana State Police New Orleans Racial slurs racism allegations Ronald Greene The Associated Press wrongful death lawsuit

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