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LA Gov. Edwards Kept Quiet on Motorist's Death Until AP Reports

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat in a red state, was in a difficult reelection campaign when he received a text message from the head of the state police: Troopers had engaged in "a violent, lengthy struggle" with a Black motorist, ending with his death. Edwards was notified of the circumstances of Ronald Greene's death within hours of his 2019 arrest, according to text messages the Associated Press obtained through a public records request. Edwards kept quiet as police told a much different story to the victim's family and in official reports: that Greene died from a crash after a high-speed chase, AP reports. For two years, Edwards remained tight-lipped about the contradictory accounts and possible cover-up until the AP obtained and published long-withheld body-camera footage showing what really happened: white troopers jolting Greene with stun guns, punching him in the face and dragging him by his ankle shackles as he pleaded for mercy and wailed, "I'm your brother! I'm scared! I'm scared!" Edwards has refused repeated interview requests. "The governor does not direct disciplinary or criminal investigations," said spokesperson Christina Stephens, "nor would it be appropriate for him to do so." What the governor knew, when he knew it and what he did have become questions in a federal civil rights investigation of the encounter and whether police brass obstructed justice to protect the troopers who arrested Greene.

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