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Family of Black man killed in Louisiana police custody views graphic video of his death

Family of Black man killed in Louisiana police custody views graphic video of his death

The family of a Black man who died in Louisiana State Police (LSP) custody was shown this week previously unreleased graphic footage of troopers brutally choking and beating the man.

The incident occurred last May to 49-year-old barber Ronald Greene, whose 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.

Greene's mother and sister cried "like they were at a funeral" Wednesday following a meeting with Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) when they witnessed the half-hour footage of Greene's encounter with police, The Associated Press reported.

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The May 2019 incident is the subject of a federal civil rights investigation in a wrongful death lawsuit.

The meeting with Edwards 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.

The family released graphic images of Greene's body, showing deep bruises to his face and cuts along his head.

The full footage has yet to be released to the press, as federal prosecutors told Edwards they believed it "would be detrimental for that video to be made public while it is in fact evidence that they are considering."

Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who's representing the family and also viewed the footage, told the AP, "This family has been lied to the entire time about what happened."

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"The video was very difficult to watch. It's one of those videos like George Floyd and even Ahmaud Arbery where it's just so graphic," Merritt added.

Renee Smith, the Union Parish coroner who was not present in the office when the cause of Greene's death was determined, told the AP Greene's death was ruled accidental and attributed to cardiac arrest.

Authorities also initially told Greene's family he had "died on impact" after his car crashed into a tree, according to the medical report cited in the federal wrongful death lawsuit.

The previously unreleased medical report was obtained by the AP and showed that an emergency room doctor doubted the initial police account when Greene arrived at the hospital bloodied with bruises and two stun-gun prongs in his back.

The recently released footage raises questions about Greene's death amid conflicting initial reports from LSP.

The Hill reached out to LSP but did not immediately receive a reply.