By MADELINE HOLCOMBE and JAMIEL LYNCH
The family of Ronald Greene, whose death two years ago is being relived this week via newly public video from his encounter with Louisiana State Police officers, say they have not been given a chance to grieve him.
“I haven’t processed what happened to him, if there’s even such a way of properly processing,” his mother Mona Hardin told CNN’s Don Lemon on Thursday.
Greene’s family said police initially told them he died on impact when his car crashed on May 10, 2019, after a police pursuit.
Now, video obtained by the Associated Press and released this week shows Greene face down on the road after the crash outside the city of Monroe being tased and kicked by LSP officers as he tells them he is scared. An initial crash report from state police did not mention there was a struggle between Greene and the officers.
Greene died on his way to a hospital, according to the LSP Criminal Investigations Division.
CNN has reached out to the officers’ attorneys for comment on the video.
Greene’s sister, Alana Wilson, said she saw the video for the first time on Wednesday. She told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that authorities have sent the family on a “runaround” since his death, never giving them correct or full information.
“I’m still on the hunt and on a chase for justice for my brother,” Wilson said. “I can’t even grieve my brother properly knowing that they did this to an innocent human being.”
The incident involved “a cover-up on many levels,” she said, and the family is calling for accountability from everyone involved, particularly the officers who Hardin said “allowed him to just slowly die on the spot.”
“What these guys did to my son and the cover-up that ensued behind all that … someone has to stay focused and my family will,” Hardin said. “What they did to Ronnie, they have to pay the penalties.”
More video is expected to be published by the AP soon, S. Lee Merritt, one of the attorneys representing Greene’s family, told CNN late Friday morning.
The new video will be from the perspective of a supervising officer arriving on scene, said Merritt, who added it was “video we just learned about,” and that “we just gave them (the AP) permission to go ahead and publish.”
The AP on Wednesdsay posted three clips, totaling just over two minutes in length, from the video it said was 46 minutes long. CNN has not obtained the original video and does not know what else can be seen in the unpublished parts of the video.
What the video published Wednesday showed
In three brief video clips posted by the AP on Wednesday, Greene can be heard apologizing to the officers that night, saying he was scared and supplicating for their mercy.
Greene’s car door is opened. A Taser goes off.
“OK, OK,” Greene is heard saying. “I’m sorry. I’m scared. Officer, I’m scared. I’m your brother. I’m scared.”
Moments before, an officer approached Greene’s car, his weapon drawn: “Let me see your f***ing hands m*therf***er.”
After being tased, Greene can be heard moaning while still on the ground and being put in handcuffs by one officer, while another officer kicks him several times. An officer can be heard saying, “I’ve got blood all over me, I hope this guy ain’t got f***ng AIDS,” as Greene continues to moan. At one point an officer drags Greene.
The Associated Press reports that Greene is left lying face down moaning for more than nine minutes while officers used sanitizer wipes to wash blood off their hands and faces. This is not in any of the video segments the AP has posted online.
The release of the clips comes as the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are investigating the death, along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana and the FBI.
In a statement, the LSP said it did not release the video and that it was not authorized or obtained by official sources. LSP said it had been directed by investigating agencies to not release any evidence or further information on the case.
Family says he was a person who loved people
The man who told officers “You’re my brother” is who Greene really was, his family told CNN.
Wilson said her brother was someone who loved people. “He exuded that even in the midst of them taking him down,” she said.
Hardin said she is struggling now, not having the son who would always try to get her to take a more positive view on things when she was feeling down, telling her “Ma, you’re not looking at it the way you should look at it.”
His favorite phrase, she said, was “We’re winning.”
Crash report doesn’t mention struggle; separate document says investigation into death started that day
A state official with knowledge of the Greene investigation told CNN that the LSP was investigating the incident as a criminal matter the day of the event.
“State police investigators were there onsite that night and launched a criminal investigation,” a source with direct knowledge of the incident told CNN. The state official was not authorized to speak to the media because the case is pending federal review.
The initial crash report from state police made no mention of troopers using force or arresting Greene.
That crash report said two troopers pursued a vehicle being driven by Greene following an attempt to pull him over for an unspecified traffic violation, and the pursuit ended when Greene crashed his vehicle.
A separate state police document noted that the Louisiana State Police Criminal Investigations Division was called about an hour after the crash to investigate Greene’s in-custody death.
That document – an initial complaint by the investigations division – said “Greene was taken into custody after resisting arrest and a struggle with troopers.”
“A short time later Greene became unresponsive and was transported to Glenwood Medical Center by Pafford Medical Service,” the initial complaint reads.
He died on the way to the hospital, the initial complaint reads.
In May 2020, Greene’s daughter filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against seven law enforcement officers that said Greene was “brutalized by Louisiana State Police and Union Parish Deputy Officers, which caused his death.” The lawsuit alleged officers “used lethal force” against him.
Hardin, Greene’s mother, told CNN Thursday that two investigative officers told the family shortly after the death that Greene crashed into a tree during a pursuit.
The lawsuit alleges “one officer told Greene’s mother that he had been killed immediately after hitting a tree.”
The AP reported last year that Union Parish Coroner Renee Smith said Greene’s death was ruled accidental and was attributed to cardiac arrest.
The lawsuit said an initial report from the Glenwood Medical Center listed the principal cause of Greene’s death as cardiac arrest. He was also diagnosed with an “unspecified injury of head,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also cites a GCM emergency room physician who allegedly noted that differing accounts about what happened to Greene did not “add up.”
“Upon obtaining more history from different law enforcement personnel, history seems to be disjointed and does not add up. Different versions are present,” the lawsuit quotes the physician as saying.
“Family states they were told by law enforcement that patient died on impact with (tree) immediately after motor vehicle accident, but law enforcement state to me that patient for [sic] out of the car and was running and involved in a fight and struggle” and was “tased three times.”
Two officers involved in the incident were reprimanded for their actions that night two years ago, including not following procedures for body-worn cameras.
One officer is on administrative leave in connection with a separate incident. Another officer received a 50-hour suspension, according to an LSP spokesperson.
A third officer – who was heard in an audio recording last year describing beating “the ever-living f***” out of Greene – died in a single-vehicle crash in September.