Nearly 3 years after Ronald Greene’s death, family members and some lawmakers say police have avoided accountability


Former Louisiana State Police Col. Kevin Reeves, who retired amidst controversy surrounding his handling of Greene’s brutal arrest by state troopers, failed to appear in front of the state police commission on Thursday. The commission is handling the case of a state police whistleblower attempting to overturn his termination after he spoke out about Greene’s death in May 2019 and leaked documents related to Greene’s death.

CNN attempted to reach Reeves through his attorney but never heard back.

The Greene family characterized Reeves’ no-show to CNN as yet another example of current and former leadership at the LSP avoiding accountability in the case.

Greene, a 49-year-old Black man, died during the overnight hours of May 10, 2019, after police said he resisted arrest and struggled with officers. His family has said they were told Greene died in a car crash after a police chase.

Video of the incident released two years later showed officers kicking, punching and using a Taser on Greene before he died in their custody.

For weeks the Greene family and some lawmakers have accused the LSP of being less than cooperative during a special legislative committee formed to investigate Greene’s death.

Dinelle Hardin, Greene’s sister, told CNN the family last spoke to federal investigators nine months ago in July of 2021.

The whistleblower in the case, Carl Cavalier, a former Louisiana state trooper, was fired after he accused colleagues involved in Greene’s death of murder and an alleged internal coverup. Since Greene’s death, multiple troopers have come forward to testify that a cover-up occurred within the highest ranks of the department. During testimony before the special legislative committee formed to investigate Greene’s death, Reeves denied there was any cover-up.

Reeves’ absence Thursday prompted Cavalier’s attorney to file a motion that the former LSP superintendent be held in contempt. Attorney Jill Craft made the same motion for former Major Jason Turner, who also failed to appear before the commission.

“For two former high-ranking public officials to thumb their nose at subpoenas lawfully issued by the State Police Commission, I think it’s appalling,” Craft told CNN affiliate WBRZ.

Craft also expressed frustration with the LSP after it did not provide requested texts and emails related to Cavaliers’ termination, and according to Craft called her request “overly burdensome.”

The state police commission said it would take up the contempt motion at a hearing in May.

Reeves retired in October 2020 amidst claims of obstruction within his department. Recently, accusations surfaced that the work cellphones used by him and other top deputies, including Lt. Col. Doug Cain, were wiped clean after Greene’s death.

Last week, Cain was placed on administrative leave “pending the ongoing administrative investigation into the sanitization of his department cellular device,” according to a statement by Louisiana State Police Col. Lamar Davis. Cain was not at the scene of the incident involving Greene.

On March 22, Cain testified before a special committee of the Louisiana State legislature investigating Greene’s death. During his testimony, state Rep. Debbie Villio asked him why his cellphone had been sanitized. Cain responded, “I can’t speak to that ma’am.”

Louisiana State Police senior officer on leave over phone data in Ronald Greene's death

After being pressed, he went on to say, “I can’t speak to my cellphone ma’am. I notified the chairman that there’s an internal investigation underway, to ensure transparency by Colonel Davis he’s looking into that matter.”

As the questioning about the phone and transparency continued, Cain told the committee chairman he had been ordered not to speak to it.

CNN reached out to Cain for a comment after he was placed on paid administrative leave but has not heard back. It is unclear whether Cain has an attorney.

Meanwhile, John Belton, the local district attorney where Greene died, told CNN that Reeves and Cain did not agree that the state troopers involved in the brutal arrest of Greene should be charged with a crime. In a 2020 meeting with Belton, Cain pushed back on Belton’s assessment of what he saw in body cam footage of the incident, Belton told CNN.

“There were certain crimes I thought the officers committed and he did not agree,” Belton said of the face-to-face meeting with Cain.

Belton did not want to elaborate to CNN on what crimes he believed occurred, adding that he had shared his conversation with Cain with federal investigators.

Additionally last week, Belton verified before the special committee formed by the Louisiana legislature to investigate Greene’s death that the then head of the state police told him the incident involving Greene was “awful, but lawful.” The comments were made in October 2019 at a Louisiana Tech event attended by Belton and Reeves, according to testimony by Belton on April 7.

In October 2020, Cain was promoted to the assistant superintendent role, nearly a year-and-a-half after the death of Greene. Cain was appointed to the position by Davis.

Source : CNN