Five Louisiana law enforcement officers were charged Thursday with state crimes ranging from negligent homicide to malfeasance in the deadly 2019 arrest of Ronald Greene, which authorities initially blamed on a car crash before long suppressed body-camera video showed white officers beating, stunning and dragging the Black motorist, reports the Associated Press. These are the first criminal charges to emerge from Greene’s bloody death in rural northeast Louisiana, a case that got little attention until an AP investigation exposed a cover-up and prompted scrutiny of top Louisiana State Police brass. “We’re all excited for the indictments but are they actually going to pay for it?” said Greene’s mother, Mona Hardin, who for more than three years has kept the pressure on state and federal investigators and vowed not to bury the cremated remains of her “Ronnie” until she gets justice. The most serious charges were filed against Master Trooper Kory York, who was seen on the body-camera footage dragging Greene by his ankle shackles, putting his foot on his back and leaving the man face down in the dirt for more than nine minutes. Use-of-force experts say these actions could have dangerously restricted Greene’s breathing. The state police’s own force instructor called the troopers’ actions “torture and murder.” York was charged with negligent homicide and 10 counts of malfeasance in office.
The others who committed various counts of malfeasance and obstruction included a trooper who denied the existence of his body-camera footage, another who exaggerated Greene’s resistance on the scene, a regional state police commander who detectives say pressured them not to make an arrest in the case and a Union Parish sheriff’s deputy heard on the video taunting Greene with the words “s—- hurts, doesn’t it?” Union Parish District Attorney John Belton praised the racially mixed grand jury, saying the people had spoken. For the first time in the case, a medical expert deemed Greene’s death a homicide. Attorneys for York and Harpin said both expect to be found not guilty at trial if the charges aren’t dismissed first. Former Trooper Dakota DeMoss, whose body-camera captured much of the arrest, declined to comment, saying “you guys always get it wrong.”