The footage of the attack was shown to the family only a year after the incident, and it has shocked the family.
Trigger warning: This report has details of police brutality and race-motivated violence that readers may find disturbing
When Ronald Greene died, the police department told his family that he had "died on impact" after crashing into a tree. What they didn't reveal was that he stepped out of the vehicle largely unharmed and was then beaten, abused, choked, tased, and dragged along the floor face-down by the cops, causing him to die in Louisiana State Police custody. The truth came to light in one of the most painful ways for the family as they watched the long-secret body-camera video. Greene's family was horrified by the video and Greene's mother and sister wailed "like they were at a funeral." The death of Greene is now a federal civil rights investigation, reported AP. The family's attorney said the video was very damning, especially considering what the cops had claimed. "This family has been lied to the entire time about what happened,” said civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who also viewed the footage. "The video was very difficult to watch."
The police have refused to release the video publicly and going by the descriptions it seems evident the cops were keen on covering it up. Greene was chased by the cops over an unspecified traffic violation but surrendered to the cops at the end of it but they aggressively attacked him while arresting him. The video showing the troopers choking and beating the man, while repeatedly jolting him with stun guns certainly doesn't tally with died on impact. Despite having the video footage, Louisiana State Police waited a whole year before disciplining one of the officers involved in Greene's death. Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth died in a car crash last month just hours after finding out that he had been fired over his role in Greene's death.
DEVELOPING: More than a year after Ronald Greene died in police custody in Louisiana, newly released body-camera audio appears to tell a different story than the initial police reports. ABC’s Andrea Fujii reports. pic.twitter.com/0if40rupts— ABC World News Now (@abcWNN) October 16, 2020
"It's like I haven't awakened from this bad dream," Greene's mother Mona Hardin told ABC News after watching the video. "His death certificate and this video are two different stories. It's horrific. I can't close my eyes and not see my son and what they did to him. I find it hard to sleep," said Hardin. Prior to allowing the family to watch the video, a 27-second audio clip from Hollingsworth’s body-camera showed the cops boasting about having assaulted him. "I beat the ever-living f*ck out of him," one trooper said to another. Graphic images of Greene's body also showed deep bruises and lacerations to his face. The family's lawyer said, "Ronald immediately surrendered at his first contact with law enforcement. When the vehicle stopped, he put his hands up and said, 'I’m sorry,'" said Merritt. "His dying words were, 'I’m sorry.'"
Greene’s family revealed that the cops had used abusive language as they arrested him. Merritt stated that one of the officers called him a "stupid son of a bitch," as they forcefully arrested and tased him. He was tased so many times that one of the troopers called on the other to stop tasing him, said Merritt. Greene's family accused the cops of a cover-up. A medical report from an emergency room doctor contradicted the initial police account and stated that he was bruised and bloodied with two stun-gun prongs in his back. Police had maintained that he died on impact after his car crashed into a tree. The car didn't show serious damage either. The State Police report didn't mention any of the trooper's using force or taking Greene into custody.
Mona Hardin the mother of Ronald Greene was was killed by Louisiana state police. Listen to the words of Ms. Mona Hardin and Attorney Lee Merritt (@leemerrittesq). A hurricane may be hitting Louisiana today, but our storms won’t be over until justice is a reality for all. pic.twitter.com/tf6VVKEL8I— Gary Chambers (@GaryChambersJr) October 9, 2020
Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, was under immense pressure to release the footage. The Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus pushed Edwards to release the bodycam footage has called on the governor to release the footage. "While the video may fall within the exception of Louisiana’s public records law, it is imperative that in an effort of full transparency and the public trust the video be released immediately," said the caucus in a statement.