BATON ROUGE, La. — In 2019, Ronald Greene was beaten by Louisiana State Police as he apologized for leading troopers on a high-speed chase, but what happened that night was unclear until this year.
State police initially told Greene’s family he died in the crash after the pursuit. Now, Louisiana’s Legislative Black Caucus wants a federal investigation – and not just at Troop F where Greene was beaten.
“Through countless conversations we've heard, whether it be the law or the state police commission rules, bar certain people from being called into question and certain documents and discipline being reviewed,” Rep. Ted James (D-East Baton Rouge) Said. “We don't have the authority to do it, but we know the federal government has the authority to do it.”
Thirty-six Black house and senate member signed and sent a letter to US Attorney General Merrick Garland Tuesday. They say it outlines gross misconduct by the state police. James says they’re reaching out to Washington because they don’t have confidence in the local FBI field offices.
“There are consistent violations that we see criminally, and folks need to be arrested,” James said. “That's one of the reasons we want the feds to come in because we realize there are some people that are no longer state troopers, but we are still paying their retirement. Taxpayers of this great state deserve to know what happened.”
In a rare sit down interview with WBRZ in Baton Rouge, Louisiana State Trooper Carl Cavalier said anyone involved in the cover up should be arrested.
“Former Col. Kevin Reeves, he needs to go to jail,” Cavalier said. “Anyone that is part of the coverup and anyone on the scene that failed to act or act inappropriately for sure.”
WWL-TV Political Analyst Clancy Dubos says the shake up is something he has not seen before.
“I don't know of anyone else's time when even one politician, let alone a handful or entire caucus in the legislature, has called for a federal investigation into a statewide police agency,” Dubos said.
Louisiana State Police Col. Lamar Davis, who became the head of the LSP last October, long after Greene’s death, did not say whether he welcomes a federal investigation, but did release a statement saying:
"For the last 8 months, our agency has carefully evaluated and examined our processes … No one is more committed to implementing positive change within our agency than our own personnel who work tirelessly each day to provide professional public safety services to the state of Louisiana."
Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office says they believe the request is reasonable and the concerns need to be addressed.