Ronald Greene spent his final moments being kicked, dragged “on his stomach by the leg shackles,” and repeatedly cussed out by a Louisiana State Police trooper who has been suspended without pay, according to bombshell internal records obtained by the Associated Press.
Greene, a Black 49-year-old barber, died following a high-speed police chase near Monroe in May 2019. Police initially claimed Greene crashed and “died on impact” then told an emergency room doctor he was “involved in a struggle with [police] where he was tased three times.”
But Greene was actually beaten to a pulp and had two taser probes still stuck in his back when he arrived at the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to a medical report. His injuries led the doctor and Greene’s family to be skeptical of the events leading up to his death.
Now in the first acknowledgement from State Police that Greene was mistreated while in custody, it has emerged that Master Trooper Kory York was suspended without pay for 50 hours following an internal investigation.
York turned his own body camera off on his way to the scene but another trooper, Chris Hollingsworth, had his on. Police have refused to make the footage public but it allegedly shows York dragging Greene along the ground and swearing at him.
“You’re gonna lay on your f****** belly like I told you,” York said, according to police records obtained by AP.
York claimed to investigators that his bodycam had been beeping and his “mind was on other things” beyond making sure it was switched on.
York was reportedly told why he was suspended on December 29. State Police Superintendent Colonel Lamar Davis told York the punishment had been determined by the previous boss and, if he were in charge of the decision, York would have faced “more severe discipline,” according to the internal records cited by AP.
“It is now undisputed that Trooper York participated in the brutal assault that took Ronald Greene’s life,” Greene’s family attorney, Mark Maguire told AP. “This suspension is a start, but it does not come close to the full transparency and accountability the family continues to seek.”
Maguire was not immediately available for comment when contacted by The Daily Beast on Saturday.
In October, a 27-second audio clip from Hollingsworth’s bodycam was also obtained by AP. In it, Hollingsworth was caught on the mic saying he “beat the ever-living fuck out” of Greene.
“We finally got him in handcuffs when a third man got there, and the son of a bitch was still fighting him, was still wrestling with him trying to hold him down,” Hollingsworth can be heard saying. “He was spitting blood everywhere and all of a sudden he just went limp.”
In a shock twist, Hollingsworth died in a car crash in September shortly after finding out he had been fired for his part in Greene’s arrest.
In mid-October, members of Greene’s family were finally allowed to watch the “graphic” 30 minutes of body camera footage of his death.
Civil rights attorney S. Lee Merritt described it as “very difficult to watch” and compared its nature to the videos of Black men George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery dying.
“This family has been lied to the entire time about what happened,” Merritt said. “Ronald immediately surrendered at his first contact with law enforcement. When the vehicle stopped, he put his hands up and said, ‘I’m sorry.’ His dying words were, ‘I’m sorry.’”
While it was deemed acceptable for Greene’s family to watch the footage, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said both state and federal prosecutors thought it “would be detrimental for that video to be made public while it is in fact evidence that they are considering.”