Family members this week watched a long-secret video with the camera of a black man who died in the custody of the Louisiana State Police, their lawyer called it a cursed footage showing soldiers suffocating and beating a man, repeatedly pushing him with electric shocks and dragging face down the sidewalk.
Ronald Green’s mother and sister cried “like at a funeral” on Wednesday after meeting with Gov. John Bell Edwards and watching a half-hour shot of a May 2019 meeting that is now the subject of a federal civil rights investigation, The Associated Press reported.
“This family has been lying all the time about what happened,”; said civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt, who also reviewed the footage. “The video was very difficult to watch. It’s one of those videos like George Floyd and even Ahmaud Arbury where it’s so obvious. ”
The video, which police declined to make public, only added to constant questions about Green’s death, such as why state police initially blamed it for a car crash and why they waited more than a year to discipline one of the officers who responded. Chief of Staff Chris Hollingsworth was killed in a car accident last month, just hours after learning he had been fired for his role in the incident.
The meeting took place after the AP announced the 27-second audio clip from a camera on Hollingsworth’s body, in which he can be heard saying to a colleague, “I knocked a living person out of him,” and from graphic images of Green’s body published by his family, which showed deep bruises on his face and cuts on his head. .
On Wednesday, Green’s family heard the exchange and a series of “insults” used by soldiers during the arrest, Merritt said, although Green made no effort to escape after the speed chase.
One day an officer is seen putting his foot on Green, “while another touches him,” he said. You can hear one soldier call Green a “stupid son of bullying …” Merritt said, and another warns that “we should not persecute him anymore.”
“Ronald immediately surrendered during his first contact with law enforcement. When the vehicle stopped, he raised his hands and said, “I’m sorry,” Merritt said. “His dying words were, ‘I’m sorry.’
AR also received a medical report stating that even the ambulance doctor doubted the initial police report of Green’s death when he arrived dead at the hospital, killed and bloodied by two electric shocks in the back.
The medical report, quoted in a federal lawsuit for wrongful death but not previously released, was detained by Green’s family as evidence that the military was actively involved in the cover-up.
“It doesn’t,” Dr. Omohuale Omohodion wrote.
Police initially told Green’s family that he “died of a blow” after being cut into a tree, the doctor wrote.
But in the appendix to his report, Omohodion wrote that eventually law enforcement officers told him that Green “participated in the fight and the fight against them, where he was persecuted three times.” Two taser probes remained behind Green even after he arrived at Glenwood Regional Medical Center in West Monroe.
“History seems to be divided,” Omohodion wrote in his report. “There are different versions.”
A steady drumbeat revealed a national case and increased pressure on Edwards, a Democrat, to order the release of entire videos of six soldiers at the scene.
The black Louisiana legislature, which is usually closely associated with Edwards, urged the governor to release the footage.
“While the video may be an exception to the Louisiana Public Records Act, it is critical that, in an effort to ensure full transparency and public confidence, the video be released immediately,” Komu said in a statement.
State and federal prosecutors consider it appropriate for the family to watch the video, Edwards said Thursday, but they believe “it would be detrimental for the video to be released, although it is in fact evidence of what they are considering.”
“I’m just not going to sit here and characterize the video for you,” the governor told reporters.
Green’s death, which followed a chase near Monroe due to an unspecified traffic violation, was considered accidental and linked to cardiac arrest, said Renee Smith, coroner of Union Parish Parish, who was not in office when the decision was made.
Omohodion’s medical report states that Green, a 49-year-old barber, was “allegedly intoxicated and” driving at over 100 km / h before losing control of his car and getting off the road. He added that Green had no chronic health problems.
The chronology of the report is also slightly different from that of the State Police Accident Report, which makes no mention of the use of force by the military or even of Green’s detention. The State Police report mentions that Green crashed into a tree as “the most harmful event” as a result of the accident.
Mustian reported from New York.