NEW ORLEANS — The ACLU of Louisiana issued the following statement regarding the Union Parish grand jury’s decision to pursue criminal charges against the four Louisiana State Police troopers and deputy responsible for Ronald Greene's death.
The decision comes over three and a half years after Greene — a 49-year-old, unarmed Black man — died at the hands of State Troopers outside of Monroe, Louisiana. After the incident, State Police lied about Ronald Greene's cause of death for over two years, withholding body camera footage showing he was tortured and denied life-saving care. In June 2022, prompted in part by Ronald Greene's death, the U.S. Department of Justice opened a pattern or practice investigation into misconduct by the Louisiana State Police.
The statement should be attributed to Alanah Odoms, ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director:
Today's decision is a long overdue first step toward justice for Ronald Greene's family and accountability for a broken police system. Those indicted must be terminated immediately, arrested immediately, and charged.
While we recognize the importance of some criminal charges being filed, those announced today are insufficient. Each and every State Trooper brought before the grand jury should have been charged for the death of Ronald Greene.
Today's decision felt both inevitable and impossible. Though footage surfaced last year revealing indisputable facts of Ronald Greene's brutal killing and exposing a cover-up scheme, charges are rarely brought against officers who commit blatant acts of violence and discriminatory policing due to the systems in place that allow them to act with impunity.
An encounter with Louisiana police should not end in violence or death. And yet — as evidenced by the extensive list of cases filed against the Louisiana State Police between 2015-2021 and the recent killing of Mr. Jabari Asante-Chioke, who was shot over 20 times by officers — too often for Black and Brown people, that is exactly what happens. We must acknowledge the racist roots of policing in this country and address the systemic failures that make it easy for violence and corruption to persist in our law enforcement agencies.
Ronald Greene should be alive today. His loved ones should not have been subjected to lies and cover-ups from state officials, and they should not have to endure further injustices.
Our elected officials, activists, communities, and organizations, including the ACLU of Louisiana, must stand with Ronald Greene's family in this fight that is far from over to ensure that his death was not in vain and that the lives of people hurt by police violence and misconduct continue to matter.
We will continue working alongside community members and coalition partners in demanding accountability through the Department of Justice's pattern or practice investigation of the Louisiana State Police. We won't rest until Black and Brown people — and all people in Louisiana and across this country — are safe from police violence.
The law enforcement officers and their charges are:
- Trooper Kory York: 1 count of negligent homicide, 10 counts of malfeasance in office
- Trooper John Cleary: 1 count of obstruction of justice
- Trooper Dakota Demoss: 1 count of obstruction of justice
- Former Troop F Commander John Peters: 1 count of obstruction of justice
- Deputy Chris Harpin: 3 counts of malfeasance in office