State Watch

State trooper’s body-camera recorded talk of beating, choking Black man

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A Louisiana state trooper’s body-camera recorded him saying he beat and choked a Black man before he “went limp,” the Associated Press reported Thursday.

The 27-second clip obtained by the AP details Ronald Greene’s May 2019 arrest after a car chase and crash prior to his death. 

Police had initially told Greene’s family that he had died due to his injuries sustained in the car crash, but the family has challenged that narrative and called for the body-camera footage to be released. Questions about his death led the family to file a federal wrongful-death lawsuit and authorities to open a federal civil rights investigation. 

In the recording, Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth, who died last week in a single-car crash, is apparently discussing Greene’s arrest in northern Louisiana with a colleague over the phone. 

“I beat the ever-living f— out of him,” Hollingsworth said, according to the AP.

“Choked him and everything else trying to get him under control,” the white trooper said. 

“We finally got him in handcuffs when a third man got there, and the son of a b—- was still fighting him, was still wrestling with him trying to hold him down,” he added. “He was spitting blood everywhere and all of a sudden he just went limp.”

The recording was provided to the AP through an intermediary who declined to be identified because the case is still under investigation. The AP verified the recording with two law enforcement officials, and the State Police did not dispute the authenticity of the recording. 

Lee Merritt, an attorney for Greene’s family, said he demands the full footage from the state police. 

“It is shocking that this evidence has been withheld for over a year,” he said, according to the AP.

The State Police opened an internal investigation into Greene’s death last month, more than a year after his death, and Hollingsworth was placed on leave. Hollingsworth’s single-car crash occurred hours after he was informed he was going to be fired for his actions during the Greene case. 

The Louisiana State Police have declined to comment on Hollingsworth’s use of force or identify which policies he allegedly violated, according to the AP. 

A crash report from the state police obtained by the AP does not mention troopers using force or arresting Greene. The report mentioned that Greene was not wearing a seat belt during the crash. It does not indicate whether alcohol or drug use was involved. 

Police later said a “struggle” occurred with troopers attempting to arrest the 49-year-old barber from central Florida. 

The family began questioning the police’s statement that Greene died from the crash and last month released graphic photos of Greene’s body and the SUV he was driving with limited damage. 

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) told reporters last week that the footage of the arrest would be released after the state and federal investigations. 

The increased attention to Greene’s case comes after a summer of protests against racial injustice and police brutality.

Tags body camera footage car chase federal civil rights investigation Law enforcement Louisiana Louisiana State Police Police police brutality

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