One of the protestors at the Ronald Greene peaceful protest held in Farmerville, Louisiana in front of the Union Parish Courthouse on Saturday, April 8, 2023 carries a sign expressing anger at Kaleb Reeves, an LSP Trooper and son of former LSP Col. Kevin Reeves. The back of her sign called for 4th Judicial DA Robert Tew to file charges against Reeves.
On Tuesday, April 11, 2023, the five law-enforcement officers (four LSP Troopers and one Union Parish Sheriff Deputy) will be arraigned for charges related to the arrest and in-custody death of Ronald Greene.
Ahead of the arraignment, on Saturday, April 8, 2023, Greene’s family, friends, and supporters engaged in a peaceful protest, and Sound Off Louisiana‘s founder, Robert Burns, made the trip to Farmerville, Louisiana to attend and videotape the demonstrations.
Let us start this feature with an update on the status of the criminal trial from Greene’s mother, Ms. Mona Hardin. Here’s a brief video of her update on the case:
April 8, 2023: Ronald Greene’s mother, Mona Hardin, provides an update on the criminal trial of the law-enforcement officers who arrested Greene on May 10, 2019 during which he died at the hands of those arresting officers.
Entailing Ms. Hardin’s reference to the recent appointment of Hugo Holland by Union Parish District Attorney John Belton to serve as prosecutor in the Greene case, wherein Hardin says, “look him up,” this extensive AP article by Jim Mustian provides the background on what she’s referencing. From the preceding article:
But Hugo Holland’s background is also marked by accusations of racial bias, including new claims uncovered by The Associated Press, that make him an unlikely advocate for racial justice. In fact, he says the concept has no place in the Greene case or anywhere in the justice system.
“Justice is justice,” Holland told the AP. “It doesn’t make any difference what race the offender or the victim is. F——— race has got nothing to do with it.”
Holland drew criticism as a local prosecutor for displaying a portrait in his office of Confederate general and early KKK leader Nathan Bedford Forrest. He once sent a fellow lawyer an email joking about chasing down “a Black guy or a Mex-can.” And he wrote the judge in the 2021 Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial to say he would never have charged the teen acquitted of killing two people during unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, calling it a “good shoot.”
Beyond that, Holland has served as a reserve police officer in Bossier City for 20 years and has been criticized for rarely prosecuting police, deciding in 2018 against charging two white sheriff’s deputies seen on body-camera video kicking a Black suspect in the face.
“How can we expect him to fight for us to get justice when he is — and loves — the police?” said Breka Peoples, a Shreveport activist who initially thought it was a joke when she heard Holland had been hired in the Greene case. “He’s part of the problem that we have today.”
“These cases are sort of like prosecuting a parent for cruelty for disciplining their child: Where is the line? That line is fuzzy. It’s not black and white,” he said. “It’s very unusual for there to be an unlawful use of force. It’s extremely rare.”
Of particular interest to Holland are accusations that some officers were involved in a cover-up of Greene’s death. He likened the situation to the Watergate scandal that doomed Richard Nixon’s presidency. “If I can prove the cover-up,” he said, “those people are in trouble.”
Greene’s mother, Mona Hardin, who has traveled the country drawing attention to her son’s death, remains skeptical about the prospects of the state case.
“I want so much to believe that something or someone greater is waiting to do Ronnie justice, but there are question marks all over the place,” said Hardin, who was a guest at the recent State of the Union Address when her attorneys told her the “wild card” Holland had been hired.
“All I hear is that he doesn’t like losing,” she said. “But who is he winning for? Is he doing this for the blue?”
In 2018, Holland determined two white Rapides Parish sheriff’s deputies had been justified in kicking Deterrian Simmons after violently taking the Black man to the ground. Even two steel-toed “distraction strikes” to the man’s face were lawful, he said, in part because they did not fracture Simmons’ skull, jaw or orbital socket.
“Like almost every other suspect injured by officers in any fashion, Simmons’ failure to comply caused this entire incident,” Holland wrote in a memo obtained by AP. “It is a waste of time to bring the officers before a grand jury.”
Speaking of the case this week, Holland said: “F——— comply and you won’t get a bloody lip.”
Last year, defense lawyers seeking to show bias in the case of a man sentenced to death turned up an email from Holland in 2017 when he wrote that in observance of Veterans Day he planned to “take my pickup and find a Black guy or a Mex-can.”
Holland defended his words as “clearly humor.” But defense attorneys argued the email harkened to the infamous 1998 killing of James Byrd, a Black man dragged from a pickup by white supremacists in Texas.
Here’s video from some of the other activities at the April 8, 2023 protest:
April 8, 2023: Highlights of other activities of Ronald Greene’s friends, family, and supporters’ peaceful protest.
Since the video above alludes to much of the action (and inaction entailing assisting Greene with medical assistance) of May 10, 2019 pertaining to Greene’s arrest, let’s provide once again the consolidated video we created and released on May 24, 2021:
Consolidated video (maximizing the footage LSP released WITH audio over other clips without audio) Sound Off Louisiana produced and published on May 24, 2021.
We encourage everyone to tune into the mainstream media on Tuesday, April 11, 2023 to (hopefully) see coverage of the arraignment of the officers even though those arraignments are expected to be mere formalities with each officer pleading not guilty.
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