UPDATED: 8 a.m. ET, Oct. 10
A Louisiana judge will allow a charge of negligent homicide to go forward in the case of the deadly 2019 arrest of Black motorist Ronald Greene.
According to AP, on Monday, Judge Thomas Rogers ruled that Master Trooper Kory York will have to face a negligent homicide charge after his team tried to get the charge dismissed because prosecutors improperly allowed a use-of-force expert to review statements York made during an internal affairs inquiry.
But Judge Rogers deemed that the prosecutors’ mistake did not taint the case and that the use-of-force expert, Seth Stoughton, could have drawn his conclusions from the body camera footage instead of the internal affairs interview. Stoughton did tell investigators that troopers used “egregiously disproportionate” force while arresting Ronald Greene.
“My heart is lifted by this,” Greene’s mother, Mona Hardin, told AP. “We shouldn’t have waited four-plus years, but we’re still moving forward.”
Judge Drops Key Charges Against Louisiana Cops
In July, a judge in Louisiana rescinded some counts against two cops charged for their involvement in the May 2019 death of Ronald Greene.
According to CNN, Third Judicial District Court Judge Thomas W. Rogers quashed obstruction of justice charges for former state troopers John Peters and Dakota DeMoss.
Judge Rogers ruled on two statements allegedly made by Peters during the investigation but said although damning, did not meet the standard for an obstruction of justice charge.
“(Peters) is alleged to have said ‘Bury it in the report,’ and ‘Don’t send the videos unless the (meaning the DA) asks for it,’” the judge said in his ruling. “‘Bury it in the report’ presumably is an admonition not to destroy, alter or remove inculpating evidence from a report, but to place it in the middle or towards the end of the report where a reader might overlook it.”
“Likewise, the second statement about not sending videos unless asked for is not an admonition to destroy, alter or remove the videos,” said Judge Rogers.
The judge decided to quash DeMoss’ obstruction count stating that although DeMoss turned off his body camera audio, that didn’t constitute obstruction.
Judge Rogers is also expected to quash a malfeasance count against former officers Kory York and John Clary.
Fortunately, the judge did not consider York’s homicide charge.
Ronald Green, a Black man, died while in police custody after being brutally assaulted and tased during his arrest following a traffic stop in 2019. Initially, police blamed Greene’s death on a car crash until body camera footage from the brutal attack showed officers beating Greene as he screamed for help.
Five officers were indicted and charged with a host of charges ranging from negligent homicide to obstruction and malfeasance. During court proceedings, the officers denied any wrongdoing while Greene’s family called for justice in his death.
In 2021, Ronald Greene’s family lawyer civil rights attorney S. Lee Merritt, shared bodycam footage of a supervisor arriving at the scene on the night of May 10, 2019, encouraging the officers by telling them “they did a good job” while they electrocuted, beat and dragged the 49-year-old Black man to his death outside of the city of Monroe.
That video’s release came about a week after the Associated Press obtained a 46-minute clip and released the bodycam footage to the public.
Greene was stopped for an unspecified traffic violation and refused to stop, which prompted a pursuit by police.
“Officer, I am scared. I’m your brother. I’m scared,” Greene can be heard saying in one of the clips. An officer then places Greene in a chokehold and punches him in the face while another officer calls him a “stupid m———r.” Greene is then tased repeatedly and beaten. At one point the state troopers use sanitary wipes to clean their hands covered in blood.
Greene’s family filed a federal wrongful suit to secure justice after urging for transparency around the case in what appeared to be a massive coverup.
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