Amid a national push for police reform, a blend of brutality, corruption and malfeasance has been the prevailing culture in recent years within the Lousiana State Police.
In the wake of the bombshell reports that Lousiana State Police troopers brutalized motorist Ronald Greene to death two years ago in a massive coverup — including suppressing damning bodycam video recently leaked to the media — there is a spotlight on the police department’s record. And it may help to explain why Greene’s 2019 police-involved death — his mother says he was “murdered” — is making national headlines in 2021.
In Greene’s case, Louisiana State Troopers told his family he died in a crash after a high-speed chase. But the leaked bodycam footage from the so-called arrest showed a handcuffed Greene lying face-down and being repeatedly Tasered why he screamed in agony and repeatedly apologized for leading them on a high-speed chase. Not to be deterred, the Troopers were shown on video continuing to brutalize Greene, 49. One was even heard remarking how much blood he had on his foot and that he hoped Greene didn’t have AIDS. Greene died on the way to the hospital
According to the Associated Press, troopers initially said Greene “died on impact” after crashing into a tree following a pursuit. They later amended that to say that Greene also struggled with officers, downplaying what was confirmed this week as police brutality. Four troopers involved were arrested in February and charged with using excessive force, but not for his death.
In an example of that type of brutality being the rule and not an exception for the Louisiana State Police, one of the troopers involved with Greene’s death — Dakota DeMoss was, in an unlikely coincidence, also part of a group text with Louisiana State Troopers joking about using excessive force against a different Black suspect about two months ago.
After a high-speed chase last year, the troopers texted each other, saying the driver would have “nightmares for a long time” from the “ass whoopin” he got. The group exchanged 14 text messages about the incident, including “lol” and “haha.”
They also all work out of of Troop F in northeast Louisiana, which is now part of a federal civil rights investigation into Greene’s death.
Brutality and coverups are just two serious issues affecting the Louisiana State Police.
One State Trooper who was fired in 2019 for a DWI arrest that included fist-fighting fellow troopers who needed to use a Taser to restrain him was given his job back last week.
The State Trooper Of The Year in 2018 was arested and charged last year for production and distribution of child pornography.
In 2018, four State Troopers were arrested for committing payroll fraud through a ticket-writing scam designed to compensate them for overtime they never actually worked. One of those troopers was paid $147,000 in overtime in 2016, putting his total compensation that year at $240,000.
It was in that context that the now-former head of the Louisiana State Police quit last year.
Meanwhile, the Congress is having a hard time coming to terms with the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act that President Joe Biden requested be enacted by Tuesday in a deadline that seems increasingly unattainable.
This is America.