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Announcement expected on grand jury findings in death of Ronald Greene, district attorney says

Ronald Greene

(CNN) — An announcement is expected Thursday on the findings of a Louisiana grand jury that looked into the May 2019 death of Black motorist Ronald Greene during a violent arrest, Union Parish District Attorney John Belton said.

Belton provided no additional information.

Greene, 49, died more than three years ago after police said he resisted arrest and struggled with officers. His family, however, has said state police initially told them Greene died in a car crash after a police chase.

Greene’s family has filed a wrongful-death civil lawsuit against the troopers involved in the incident, as well as their superiors. The family is seeking damages for all medical and funeral expenses.

The troopers have maintained that Greene’s death was “caused by crash-related blunt force chest trauma that resulted in a fractured sternum and ruptured aorta” and said they used force “for their own personal safety and for the safety of the public,” according to court documents.

But video released two years after the May 10, 2019 incident showed officers kicking, punching and using a Taser on Greene before he died in their custody.

Earlier this year, the office of Gov. John Bel Edwards and the Department of Justice for the Western District of Louisiana contested an Associated Press report that suggested Edwards kept quiet for two years about what he knew about what happened the night Greene died.

Edwards’ office has said that “neither the Governor nor anyone on the Governor’s staff has ever intervened or interfered in any criminal investigation, including the investigation into Mr. Greene’s death.”

Edwards has called the actions of the troopers that night “criminal” and “horrific.”

Videos of the arrest — released by the AP and then by the state police in May 2021 — revealed graphic details of the violent struggle that night.

Multiple body- and dash-camera videos from four responding officers offered insight into the fatal encounter near the city of Monroe, including the car chase as well as the four-minute sequence between when police open Greene’s car and he is handcuffed on the ground.

Greene, in the video, is heard telling officers he is scared as at least two troopers try to drag him out of the vehicle.

There is a struggle as officers attempt to handcuff Greene. The videos show a trooper appearing to put Greene in a chokehold as they wrestle on the ground. Greene is then tased by one trooper as another restrains him.

Greene, face down on the ground, wails as a trooper sits on him, pressing his hand onto the back of Greene’s neck and punching him in the face, according to the video. Another trooper tries to handcuff him and punches his lower back, according to the footage.

The troopers appear to stop beating Greene after they handcuff and leave him on the ground face down. As they walk away, one says, “You stupid motherf****r,” as Greene cries out.

Audio from the body camera of one officer, Trooper Chris Hollingsworth, reveals a telephone exchange inside his patrol vehicle after the beating. He begins by saying Greene was drunk.

“And I beat the ever-living f*** out of him, choked him and everything else trying to get him under control and we finally got him in handcuffs when a third man got there and the son of a bitch was still fighting and we was still wrestling with him trying to hold him down because he was spitting blood everywhere,” the officer says in the video.

“And then all of a sudden he just went limp,” Hollingsworth says.

Hollingsworth was to be fired for violations regarding body-worn camera and car camera systems, use of force, performance, lawful orders and for conduct unbecoming an officer but died in a car crash before his dismissal.

Belton said in October that he would present evidence related to Greene’s death to a grand jury starting last month. The US Justice Department is investigating Greene’s death for civil rights violations.

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