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Three years later, Ronald Green’s family is still awaiting justice

MONRO, La ‘Three years ago, when the beaten and bloody Ronald Green took his last breath on a country road, his death in the Louisiana State Police Department seemed predestined to be unknown.

Family members were told – falsely – that he had died in a car crash after a high-speed chase. The recordings from the body camera of white soldiers, stunning, hitting and dragging the black driver, remained so secret that they were even hidden from his initial autopsy.

The story, which the U.S. police have been insisting on for months about Green’s death, has not lingered, revealed by graphic footage published last year by the Associated Press that contradicted police reports and fueled allegations of cover-ups.

Now, even as Green’s death on May 10, 2019 engulfed Louisiana’s leading law enforcement agency in controversy, it remains an open wound for a grieving family still seeking justice. Despite lengthy state and federal criminal investigations, no charges have been filed.

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“How do you turn your back on the murder?” Green’s mother, Mona Hardin, said Tuesday before meeting with the local district attorney. “It’s an ugly, lurking evil.”

For months, especially after the AP released the video with a body camera last spring, the question was not whether the Justice Department would file charges, but how many soldiers would be charged. The scope of the investigation has been expanded to include whether state police have obstructed justice to protect soldiers.

But after months of interviews, grand jury testimony and a restored autopsy, federal prosecutors are increasingly skeptical that they can bring a successful civil rights case against any of the soldiers filmed by Green Abusers, according to people familiar with the case. the investigation, which spoke of the condition of anonymity to discuss the current case.

A key issue is whether the federal government can prove that the soldiers acted “intentionally” – a key component of the federal civil rights authorities they are considering. To do so, sources said, investigators were trying to show that Green was also sprayed with pepper after he was arrested.

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Even after the FBI improved the video on the body camera, federal authorities questioned whether the footage proved that Green had been sprayed with pepper.

The delay is compounded by the fact that federal prosecutors have asked local district attorney John Belton to postpone the filing of state charges until the federal investigation is completed.

But last month, federal prosecutors reversed the course, saying they would not object to a state indictment. Belton said the state grand jury is expected to begin hearing evidence soon.

Separately, a state legislature investigating a possible cover-up of the Green case is preparing for a hearing over a summons to the former Louisiana state police chief.

On Wednesday, the bipartisan commission will hold an initial vote of disrespect for former Colonel Kevin Reeves for refusing to hand over three full volumes of a diary he kept while running the agency. Reeves’ lawyer provided 11 handwritten pages to the commission last week, but said the rest was unrelated to Green and did not need to be handed over.

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Reeves’ diary entries in the days after Green’s death showed an awareness of the potential consequences. “Recognize that there is a problem – it must be addressed immediately,” Reeves wrote in a section that lists a series of possible steps, including removing soldiers or putting them on leave and opening an internal investigation into the case.

But it would be 462 days before the state police launched an internal investigation into the soldiers involved, including one who was recorded boasting that he had “beaten the ever-living devil of Green.” Reeves, who described Green’s death as “terrible but legal”, retired in late 2020 amid criticism.

If the committee votes to continue a contempt case against Reeves, the matter will be moved to another committee and then to the full State Chamber, where the contempt vote will allow lawmakers to begin litigation to force Reeves to comply with the summons. .

The committee was formed in response to an AP report that Reeves briefed Governor John Bell Edwards within hours that the soldiers arresting Green had been involved in a “violent, protracted struggle.” Still, the Democrat remained silent on the case for two years as government troops continued to push the theory of car crashes.

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Lawmakers said they intend to investigate what Edwards knew about the case and when he knew it, but none of his staff has yet been called to testify.

Family members gathered on Tuesday for a candlelight vigil in a quiet community near Monroe, where Green died, releasing balloons and praying their long wait for justice was finally over.

Hardin was surrounded by two dozen supporters wearing T-shirts decorated with Green’s image and phrases, including “I’m Your Brother,” words Green said when soldiers began to stun him in his vehicle.

They were joined by former Louisiana State Police officer Carl Cavalier, who was fired after talking about Green’s death, and Albert Paxton, a retired detective who said supervisors were pressuring him not to press charges in the case. .

“I’m sorry you had to go through this,” Paxton told Hardin, hugging her only at the feet of where her son died. “You’re not hiding from the truth.”

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Three years later, Ronald Green’s family is still awaiting justice

Source link Three years later, Ronald Green’s family is still awaiting justice

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