- Louisiana State Police troopers are leaking about the 2019 death of Ronald Greene, the family attorney says.
- Ron Haley told Insider the leaks have helped build a case to revisit how the Black motorist died.
- Haley said he believes a federal grand jury will convene by late summer to weigh charges in the case.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A steady flow of leaks from inside the Louisiana State Police have renewed pressure on authorities in the case of Ronald Greene, who died in custody more than two years ago, according to the family’s attorney.
Attorney Ron Haley said over the past nine months, whistleblowers within the state police have released internal memos, recordings, and other evidence from Greene’s arrest to the media and other involved parties.
“A lot of times law enforcement officers want the community, when they see something, to say something,” Haley said in a Monday phone call with Insider. “In this case, we have troopers within the state police that have seen something that is criminal and they’re doing something about it.”
Haley said those leaks have helped him build a case to revisit the circumstances around Greene’s death that could lead to criminal charges against the officers.
State police initially said Greene’s May 2019 death was the result of a car crash following a police chase. Later, police acknowledged that Greene, who was Black, had struggled with officers, and said he died on his way to the hospital, in a one-page statement that provided no additional details.
Body camera footage of Greene’s arrest wasn’t made public until May 2021. The footage showed state troopers stunning, hitting, dragging, and berating Greene as they arrested him.
Leaked audio showed an officer talking about beating ‘the ever-living f—‘ out of Greene
Months before the body camera footage was released, in October 2020, a whistleblower leaked audio from the body camera mic of a state trooper who matter-of-factly said he beat Greene before his death, Haley said
“I beat the ever-living f— out of him,” Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth said in a audio clip, which was obtained by The Associated Press, adding that he “choked him and everything else trying to get him under control.”
“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,” Hollingsworth said in the audio clip. “He was spitting blood everywhere and all of a sudden he just went limp.”
Hollingsworth himself died in a car crash in September 2020, hours after learning he was being fired in connection with Greene’s death, the AP reported.
A leaked state police memo told staff to preserve evidence
Haley told Insider that leaks have emerged at a steady clip since the audio of Officer Hollingsworth. On Friday, for example, a memo Gail Holland, the state police deputy general counsel, sent to staff was obtained by local TV station WBRZ. The memo, which Insider has since reviewed, advised all Department of Public Safety agency staff “to preserve potential evidence by taking the appropriate steps to ensure that potential evidence relevant to the Ronald Greene matter is preserved and not deleted, damaged, or destroyed.”
Haley told Insider the fact that the department needed to send out a memo to tell staff not to delete records indicates the state police may be obstructing justice.
A spokeswoman for the Louisiana State Police told Insider that the internal memo was not out of the ordinary, as the agency routinely sends them out to prepare for pending litigation.
“A department wide notification was sent to ensure that all personnel are aware and not just those immediately involved in the investigation,” the spokeswoman said. “The department is simply taking steps to ensure documents are not impacted by retention schedules.”
The spokeswoman said the agency has cooperated with state and federal investigations, provided all investigative notes and documents related to the case to the involved agencies, and “fully intends to release all available documents and investigative files at the appropriate time.”
Both the FBI and US Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana have launched investigations into the Greene case. Haley told Insider that he believes a federal grand jury will convene by the end of August or early September to decide whether to indict the officers involved in Greene’s death on civil rights charges. The US Attorney’s Office did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.
“These officers, those who have publicly come out and those who are doing the good work in the shadows, are taking great risk to ensure that justice is served in this case,” Haley said.