LSP clouded in secrecy concerning allegations of excessive force in Ronald Green’s arrest and wrongful-death Federal lawsuit.

Friends and family display photos and calls for justice for the death of Ronald Greene while in LSP custody in the early morning hours of Saturday, May 11, 2019.

UPDATE (9/11/20 @ 7:25 p.m.).  Just as we predicted at the bottom of this feature, little time elapsed before WBRZ (Baton Rouge Channel 2) broadcast a feature on this matter.  We find it more than a little interesting that we requested Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth’s disciplinary file on August 17, 2020, LSP responded with an irrelevant 2009 traffic accident on August 21, 2020, then a mere four (4) days later, on August 25, 2020, as WBRZ’s Chris Nakamoto reveals, LSP Col. Kevin Reeves suspends Hollingsworth for actions related to incident below which transpired 16 months ago!

On Friday, May 10, 2019 around midnight, Louisiana State Police (LSP) engaged in a multi-parish chase entailing motorist Ronald Greene.  The chase began near the University of Louisiana at Monroe.  LSP claims Greene became “combative,” ultimately leading to his arrest.  EMS was called to the scene, and Greene died in route to the hospital.

Greene’s family has been suspicious of what they have been told by LSP.  Their suspicions ultimately became enough to attract the attention of Stop Excessive Force, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania based law firm focusing on “the criminal prosecution of violent cops as well as financial recovery for victims.”  From the firm’s home page entailing Greene’s arrest:

On May 10, 2019, Ronald Greene was traveling along the highway in Monroe, Louisiana when Louisiana State Trooper Dakota Demoss attempted to pull Greene’s vehicle for an unknown and undisclosed traffic violation. Greene continued driving his vehicle until his vehicle swerved, spun out and crashed into a wooded area. Despite the car accident, Greene was not injured and exited the vehicle without assistance.

After exiting his vehicle, Greene was confronted by Trooper Demoss and Trooper Chris Hollingsworth. Greene apologized for not stopping earlier, but was suddenly thrown to the ground without provocation. Greene repeatedly apologized to the troopers and cried out in pain as he begged officers to stop their assault on him. Troopers on scene tased Greene at least three times, leading to cardiac arrest and his death. A claim for excessive force is currently being pursued against the troopers involved in Greene’s death.

The Federal lawsuit alleging excessive force by LSP is available here.  From that lawsuit:

26.  Green was not injured and could walk, speak and otherwise function in a healthy manner after the crash.
27. Almost immediately thereafter, Trooper Demoss and Master Trooper Hollingsworth arrived on the scene.
28. Shortly thereafter, Captain Peters, Lieutenant Clary, Sergeant McElroy’ Master Trooper York, and Deputy Sherriff Harpin arrived at the scene.
29. Greene exited his car and began to apologize to the officers, telling them he knew he should have stopped the vehicle earlier.
30. Two officers pinned Greene down on the ground while he screamed `Oh my God.’’’
3 1. Greene was moaning, begging the offiers to stop, and repeatedly saying “I’m sorry.”
32. Despite Greene’s contrition and surrender, Trooper Demoss’Master Trooper Hollingsworth Master Trooper York’Captain Peters, Lieutenant Clary, Sergeant McElroy, and Deputy Sherriff Harpin individually and in concert used lethal force against Greene.
33. Despite Greene’s contrition and surrender the Defendant officers used electronic control weapons against Green at least three times thus attacking his heart with massive amounts of electricity.
34.  In an effort to conceal the identity or identities of the officer or officers who deployed electronic control weapons, the Louisiana State Police has declined to produce or release bodycam footage, dashboard cam footage, discharge logs, use of force reports, or any number of investigative materials that would identify who used lethal force.
35. The force used against Greene was unjustified, unreasonable, excessive, and in violation of Greene’s Fourth Amendment rights.
36. The force used against Greene left him beaten, bloodied, and in cardiac arrest.
37. An officer called for an ambulance was (sic) at 12:29 a.m.
38. When the Emergency Medical Technicians arrived at 12:51 a.m., they found Greene unresponsive. He was propped up against an officer’s leg, covered in blood with multiple TASER Barbs penetrating his body.
39. Emergency Medical Technicians determined that Greene was in cardiac and respiratory arrest.
40. Greene was placed on a gurney and transported to Glenwood Medical Center. He remained unresponsive when he arrived at 1:25 a.m.
41. Greene was pronounced dead at 1:27 a.m.
42. An initial report from Glenwood Medical Center listed the principle (sic) cause of Greene’s death as cardiac arrest. He was also diagnosed with an “unspecified injury of head.”
43. Officers immediately began efforts to obfuscate the true nature of the conduct that caused Greene’s death. The following are examples of the Officers’deceptions:
a. police personnel told Greene’s family that he had been killed in an auto accident.
b. One officer told Greene’s mother that he had been killed immediately after hitting a tree.
c. The call for Emergency Medical Services concealed the fact that lethal force had been used.
d. The sole police report produced to date does not indicate that force was used.
e. Inconsistent versions of the Officers’ involvement with Greene were provided to medical treatment providers at Glenwood Hospital.
f.  Officers claimed that Greene was intoxicated prior to learning that a toxicology exam found no alcohol or drugs.
g. Greene’s body was transported out of the State of Louisiana to conduct an autopsy, thereby denying the right of the family to have a representative observe
h. Denying Green’s family access to video footage of the use of lethal force.
44. Doctor Omokhuale, an emergency room physician at Glenwood confirms the Officers’ deception and stated as follows:
“upon obtaining more history from different law enforcement personnel [sic], history seems to be disjointed and does not add up. Different versions are present… family states they were told by law enforcement that patient died on impact with three immediately after motor vehicle accident, but law enforcement
state to me that patient for out of the car and was running and involved in a fight and struggle where them where he was tased 3 times.’
45. The Officers’ awareness of the unconstitutional nature of their conduct resulted in persistent attempts to obfuscate the true nature of the conduct that caused Greene’s death.
46. The autopsy revealed the true nature of the Officers’ conduct, noting multiple signs of recent trauma, blunt force injuries to the head and face, facial lacerations, facial abrasions, facial contusions, scalp lacerations, blunt force injuries to the extremities, and abrasions and contusions over the left and right knees.
47. The Officers use of lethal force was malicious, unreasonable, and excessive.

The lawsuit, originally filed in Pennsylvania but subsequently transferred to the Federal Court of the Louisiana Western District, seeks damages for alleged wrongful death in an amount exceeding $1 million.  On August 25, 2020, Attorney General Jeff Landry, acting trough Shreveport Special Assistant Attorney General Brian D. Smith, filed an unopposed motion for an extension of time to file responsive pleadings.

In early May of this year, we began receiving several reports about unrest over LSP and accusations that transparency simply was not present on LSP’s part regarding the whole matter presented above.  We kept hearing similar refrains, and accordingly we began making public records requests toward the middle of August, 2020.  Let’s now provide a timeline of our correspondence to LSP, the agency’s correspondence back to us, and a stunning incident entailing LSP and WBRZ (Baton Rouge Channel 2) investigative reporter Chris Nakamoto entailing his own investigative report on another LSP matter with racial relations at LSP:

August 17, 2020:

We make a public records request to examine Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth’s disciplinary record, and LSP responds indicating these three (3) pages entailing a 2009 traffic accident is all there is.

September 3, 2020:

WBRZ reporter Chris Nakamoto airs this jaw-dropping investigative report entailing an LST Trooper leaving a voice mail on an African American LSP Trooper’s phone referencing him as a “f*** n****.”  Nakamoto also outlines the obvious LSP efforts to cover up the incident and, upon him unraveling the cover-up, LSP’s point-blank request of him not to air the preceding feature!

September 4, 2020:

Absolutely stunned by what we saw on Nakamoto’s report wherein he reveals that a letter of reprimand was simply removed from the trooper’s file before he was provided the file to examine it, we made a follow-up request of LSP.  Here’s that request:

From: Robert@SoundOffLA.com <Robert@SoundOffLA.com>
Sent: Friday, September 4, 2020 11:29 AM
To: ‘Jamie Fletcher’ <Jamie.Fletcher@LA.GOV>
Cc: ‘Faye Morrison’ <Faye.Morrison@la.gov>; ‘Nick Manale’ <Nick.Manale@la.gov>; ‘Chavez Cammon’ <Chavez.Cammon@la.gov>; ‘Chris Nakamoto’ <cnakamoto@WBRZ.com>
Subject: Re-Requesting Disciplinary File of LSP Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth

 

Good Morning:

 

I really don’t have words to express the level of shock and disbelief I had yesterday evening upon viewing WBRZ’s Chris Nakamoto’s feature on LSP.  There’s no need for me to elaborate because, as I just said, I simply don’t have the words.

 

Nevertheless, in light of what transpired regarding his own public records request and in an abundance of caution, I am re-requesting the disciplinary file of LSP Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth.

 

Now, if LSP is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that the only material in that file that has ever existed at any time is the three pages already provided to me (available by clicking on this link:  http://www.laboards-commissions.com/Hollingsworth_Disciplinary_File.pdf) then I respectfully request that you respond to this email indicating that to be the case.

 

I’ve requested countless public records from governmental agencies across this state, and this is a first for me and, were I on the receiving end of this request, I’ll admit I would be both offended and unhappy.  Nevertheless, as I said, in light of what Mr. Nakamoto revealed last night, I deem it an appropriate request to make notwithstanding the fact I would never have even considered doing so without viewing his LSP feature yesterday evening.

 

Thank you, and I hope your weekend goes well.

 

Robert Edwin Burns, founder and author

SOUND OFF LOUISIANA

Despite the incredibly short amount of time required for LSP to simply hit “reply” and state that the three pages concerning the traffic incident is all that has ever existed in Trooper Hollingsworth’s disciplinary file, LSP has declined to make such a statement to us!

Nakamoto airs a follow-up broadcast outlining Gov. Edwards’ comments on his original broadcast and calls by NAACP officials for the trooper who left the voice mail to be terminated.

We felt there was simply too much tap dancing going on regarding what we are searching for, so we sent LSP the following public records request:

From: Robert@SoundOffLA.com <Robert@SoundOffLA.com>
Sent: Friday, September 4, 2020 9:46 PM
To: ‘Nick Manale’ <Nick.Manale@la.gov>
Cc: ‘Chavez Cammon’ <Chavez.Cammon@la.gov>; ‘Jamie Fletcher’ <Jamie.Fletcher@LA.GOV>; ‘Faye Morrison’ <Faye.Morrison@la.gov>; ‘Chris Nakamoto’ <cnakamoto@WBRZ.com>
Subject: Brand New Public Records Request

 

Lt. Manale:

 

In following up on my earlier re-submitted public records request, let me alter the course a little (though I still want confirmation that Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth’s disciplinary file contains no more than the three pages I have been supplied already).

 

Some people enjoy tap dancing, and some don’t.  I’m not a tap dancer.  Accordingly, let me focus in with laser-like precision on what I’m seeking in the hope this brand new public records request may bear more fruit and advance this process a little.

 

I seek any and all documentation pertaining to any investigation of any of the following LSP Troopers entailing any body cam video being turned off during the arrest and apprehension of Ronald Greene on or around May 10, 2019:

 

  • TROOPER DAKOTA DEMOSS,
  • MASTER TROOPER CHRIS HOLLINGSWORTH,
  • MASTER TROOPER KORY YORK,
  • SERGEANT FLOYD MCELROY,
  • LIEUTENANT JOHN CLARY, and
  • CAPTAIN JOHN PETERS AND DEPUTY

I wish to examine the documents, and I will have a scanner with me for purposes of making copies of any documents of which I may desire.  I ask that you reply back to this email and facilitate us arranging a mutually-agreeable time and day for me to visit your office and examine the requested records.  Should you have any question entailing my request, don’t hesitate to contact me via email or on my cell phone number listed below.

 

Thank you, and I hope you all enjoy a Happy Labor Day Weekend.

 

Robert Edwin Burns, founder and author

SOUND OFF LOUISIANA

On Thursday, September 10, 2020 (a day after we’d gotten the generic “we should have you the records within 45 days” letter), LSP Attorney Faye Morrison supplied us with this response to the preceding public records request:

From: Faye Morrison <Faye.Morrison@la.gov>
Sent: Thursday, September 10, 2020 2:21 PM
To: ‘Robert Burns’ <robert@soundoffla.com>; Jamie Fletcher <Jamie.Fletcher@LA.GOV>
Cc: Nick Manale <Nick.Manale@la.gov>; Chavez Cammon <Chavez.Cammon@la.gov>
Subject: RE: PRR – Ronald Greene

 

Dear Mr. Burns:  in response to your public records request for:

 

any and all documentation pertaining to any investigation of any of the following LSP Troopers entailing any body cam video being turned off during the arrest and apprehension of Ronald Greene on or around May 10, 2019:

Ø          TROOPER DAKOTA DEMOSS,
Ø          MASTER TROOPER CHRIS HOLLINGSWORTH,
Ø          MASTER TROOPER KORY YORK,
Ø          SERGEANT FLOYD MCELROY,
Ø          LIEUTENANT JOHN CLARY, and
Ø          CAPTAIN JOHN PETERS AND DEPUTY,

please be advised that the information you seek is not considered public at this time, pursuant to La. R.S. 44:3(A)(1).  LSP conducted a criminal investigation related to this incident and that investigation is pending review by the local prosecutor’s office.  The administrative investigation related to the same is ongoing.  As you know, this office does not maintain standing requests due to the volume of requests we receive.  That being said, feel free to request an update at any time.  fdm

A few hours later, Ms. Morrison supplied us with a follow-up email indicating that the following document is the “only document considered public at this time.”:

On Thursday, September 10, 2020, the Louisiana State Police Commission (LSPC) held its regular meeting, and numerous folk who follow our blog believed (erroneously) that the Ronald Greene matter would be discussed as part of an agenda item concerning a law enforcement De-Escalation Task Force formed by State Rep. Ted James.  We even had a major media outlet contact us during the meeting and ask us if LSPC was discussing the Greene matter.

We know (or at least hope) that everyone trusts us, but we’re going to provide the ability to, as one famous President used to say, “trust but verify.”  Here is the entirety of the discussion of Rep. James’ task force at the September 10, 2020 meeting:


LSPC Executive Director Jason Hannaman discusses his attendance and testimony at a House Subcommittee on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 regarding Rep. Ted James’ law enforcement De-Escalation Task Force.

So folks, that’s where everything stands at this point regarding the arrest and apprehension of Ronald Greene.  We will leave it to our subscribers to draw their own conclusions from anything we’ve presented above, and somehow, we feel everyone will be reading and viewing quite a bit more on this matter by local and national media in the near future.

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