Leaked memo shows Louisiana State Police asked staff not to destroy Ronald Greene case files, more than 2 years after his death

Ronald Greene, body camera
Louisiana State Police first said Ronald Greene died in a crash. Body camera footage released later showed troopers beating him. Louisiana State Police via AP
  • A leaked memo shows Louisiana State Police ordered staff not to delete files on Ronald Greene.
  • Insider reviewed the document advising employees that records like body camera footage and emails must be preserved.
  • Greene’s 2019 death in state police custody is currently under federal investigation.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Louisiana State Police asked employees Thursday in an internal memo not to delete any files related to the case of Ronald Greene, a Black man who died in trooper custody more than two years ago.

The memo, which was first leaked to local TV station WBRZ, 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.”

The document, which Insider has reviewed, advises employees that all records related to Ronald Greene, including body camera and other footage, notes, reports, and emails involving the case, are likely to become relevant in future litigation and that they should be preserved.

A spokesperson for the Louisiana State Police told Insider that the retention notification 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 spokesperson said. “The department is simply taking steps to ensure documents are not impacted by retention schedules.”

An attorney for the Greene family, Ron Haley, told Insider on Monday that the fact that the state police sent out a memo to tell staff not to delete records indicates the department may be obstructing justice. Haley added that over the past nine months, whistleblowers within the state police have been leaking evidence to the media and other involved parties.

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.

Both the FBI and US Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana have launched investigations into Greene’s death.