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The five Louisiana officers responsible for killing Ronald Greene in 2019 pleaded not guilty to state charges in court Tuesday.
Four current and former Louisiana State Police Troopers and one Union Parish Sheriff’s Deputy appeared in court Tuesday with their lawyers, all entering not guilty pleas for their charges. Charges range from negligent homicide to malfeasance and obstruction of justice.
Greene was killed after a high-speed police chase in May of 2019. Officers initially blamed Greene’s death on a minor crash and kept bodycam footage away from investigators for years. After the Associated Press obtained and published the video of Greene’s arrest, the FBI took the unusual step of ordering a new look at Greene’s autopsy, which initially listed his death as “cocaine induced agitated delirium complicated by motor vehicle collision, physical struggle, inflicted head injury and restraint.”
In April 2022, Union Parish District Attorney John Belton requested a special grand jury be impaneled as he moved forward with his prosecution of the officers involved in Greene’s death.
Cover-Up of Greene’s Death
The Louisiana State Police fired Trooper Carl Cavalier, a Black man, in February of this year for what they claimed was a lack of “loyalty”, after Cavalier detailed a cover-up tied to the death of Ronald Greene to WBRZ.
In the interview, Cavalier discussed the cover-ups that kept colleagues from facing disciplinary actions for Greene’s death.
The top ranking Louisiana State Police officer, Lt. John Clary, lied to investigators and denied the existence of his own bodycam footage for two years. State police did not open an administrative investigation into the troopers’ use of force until 474 days after Greene’s death.
Facing the most serious of charges is Master Trooper Kory York, who was seen on the bodycam footage dragging Greene by his ankle shackles, putting his foot on his back, and leaving Greene face down in the dirt for more than nine minutes.
York only received a 50-hour suspension and returned to active duty afterwards.
The next court hearing will be held on May 12, where the details in the indictment are expected to be unsealed.
Greene’s family has also filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the officers involved and their superiors. The Justice Department opened an investigation into Greene’s death, but has yet to say if charges will be filed.