Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards denied that he delayed or interfered with investigations into the deadly 2019 arrest of Ronald Greene. For the first time he characterized the actions of the troopers seen on video stunning, punching and dragging the Black man as racist, the Associated Press reports. “I can’t imagine if Mr. Greene had been white he would have been treated that way,” an emotional Edwards told a news conference. “We have to acknowledge racism when we see it. We have to call it what it is.” The Democratic governor rejected the idea that his response to the Greene case was driven by a tight reelection campaign that depended heavily on the Black vote. He called the notion nonsensical because prosecutors had the Greene case well before his election.
Edwards stayed mostly silent on the case until last May when the AP published long-withheld body camera video showing what really happened on a dark roadside near Monroe: 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!” Leaders of Louisiana’s GOP-led legislature have vowed to take action against Edwards over his handling of the case. The drama is playing out amid a more than two-year-old federal civil rights investigation into the deadly encounter and whether police brass obstructed justice to protect the troopers who arrested Greene.