In June 2024, five white Louisiana police officers charged in the death of Black man Ronald Greene will be tried in Union Parish. It should be an open-and-shut case, right? I mean, there’s body camera footage that shows cops—who claimed Greene died when his car crashed at the end of a highspeed chase—were tasing, beating and dragging Greene, causing injuries a medical examiner confirmed couldn’t have been caused by an automobile wreck. (Not that we needed that confirmation. As far as I know, cars are not equipped with tasers and fists.)
Unfortunately, this case is far from a slam dunk. It turns out, Union Parish is, apparently, a largely Caucasian bastion of “blue lives matter” bootlickers and Confederate monument-humpers, and the racism there is so thick that the Black district attorney felt compelled to hire a white stand-in to prosecute the case, according to the Associated Press. And that’s not the worst of it. It appears that the most competent white attorney with a reputation for winning they could find is also a racist “back the blue” acolyte and Klan stan who has displayed a “comply or die” attitude regarding instances of police brutality in the past.
But Hugo Holland’s background is also marked by accusations of racial bias, including new claims uncovered by The Associated Press, that make him an unlikely advocate for racial justice. In fact, he says the concept has no place in the Greene case or anywhere in the justice system.
“Justice is justice,” Holland told the AP. “It doesn’t make any difference what race the offender or the victim is. F——— race has got nothing to do with it.”
Holland drew criticism as a local prosecutor for displaying a portrait in his office of Confederate general and early KKK leader Nathan Bedford Forrest. He once sent a fellow lawyer an email joking about chasing down “a Black guy or a Mex-can.” And he wrote the judge in the 2021 Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial to say he would never have charged the teen acquitted of killing two people during unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, calling it a “good shoot.”
Not only did Holland declare that he “would not have even bothered to take the Rittenhouse case to the grand jury,” but he “would have pronounced it a good shoot and been done with it.” So, literally, the only person to shoot and kill people during civil unrest in Kenosha isn’t even worth taking a second look at as a criminal suspect? Nah, I definitely trust this guy to handle Greene’s case with justice in mind.
Anyway, here’s more detail regarding Holland’s belief that cops should be able to go full Rodney King on anyone who doesn’t immediately comply with police commands, as well as his apparent fantasy lynching league activities:
In 2018, Holland determined two white Rapides Parish sheriff’s deputies had been justified in kicking Deterrian Simmons after violently taking the Black man to the ground. Even two steel-toed “distraction strikes” to the man’s face were lawful, he said, in part because they did not fracture Simmons’ skull, jaw or orbital socket.
“Like almost every other suspect injured by officers in any fashion, Simmons’ failure to comply caused this entire incident,” Holland wrote in a memo obtained by AP. “It is a waste of time to bring the officers before a grand jury.”
Speaking of the case this week, Holland said: “F——— comply and you won’t get a bloody lip.”
Last year, defense lawyers seeking to show bias in the case of a man sentenced to death turned up an email from Holland in 2017 when he wrote that in observance of Veterans Day he planned to “take my pickup and find a Black guy or a Mex-can.”
Holland defended his words as “clearly humor.” But defense attorneys argued the email harkened to the infamous 1998 killing of James Byrd, a Black man dragged from a pickup by white supremacists in Texas.
Even if Holland wasn’t referencing Byrd—WTF kind of Ku Klux Komedy hour joke was he telling where the punchline ends with “take my pickup and find a Black guy or a Mex-can?”
Hell, I almost forgot to highlight the fact that Holland outright dismisses the very possibility that five white police officers accused of beating a Black man to death might be a case where racial bias is even related. It’s not like literally all data going back more than 20 years shows Black people are and have always been disproportionately brutalized and/or killed by cops, after all.
So, it isn’t terribly surprising that Holland already seems to be anticipating Greene’s alleged killers walking free, and he even appears to be trying to compare Greene being allegedly beaten, tased and dragged to his death to—*checks notes*—instances of bad parenting.
“I’m going to review this case with a completely fresh eye,” Holland said. “If I think the grand jury overreached, I’m going to tell the district attorney. If I think something additional needs to be done, I’m going to tell him that as well.”
“These cases are sort of like prosecuting a parent for cruelty for disciplining their child: Where is the line? That line is fuzzy. It’s not black and white,” he continued. “It’s very unusual for there to be an unlawful use of force. It’s extremely rare.”
This man is really out here contemplating what degree of police brutality is acceptable by also pondering what degree of child abuse is acceptable—but, nah, I absolutely believe he knows what he’s talking about when he says “unlawful use of force” is “unusual” and “extremely rare.” (It’s literally not even the only police brutality case involving officers from the same police troop as Greene’s alleged killers.)
Hugo Holland prosecuting Ronald Greene’s alleged killers is like if Rudy Giuliani acted as a civil attorney for disenfranchised Black voters. But this is America and this is its “justice” system.
I hate it here.
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