Amid Ronald Greene cover-up, trooper urges family to call FBI; Nakamoto reveals more case notes
BATON ROUGE - The state trooper tasked with investigating the death of Ronald Greene, who died while in State Police custody in May 2019, told the man's family to contact federal authorities as the investigation hit roadblocks within the agency.
WBRZ and Chief Investigator Chris Nakamoto have been documenting the Ronald Greene story for nearly a year. After a series of reports from the WBRZ Investigative Unit, sources leaked body camera video that countered original accounts of what happened and other documents showing State Police bosses were bent on spinning liability away from the agency. See every story from WBRZ here.
As trooper Albert Paxton investigated Greene's death during an altercation with troopers from Troop F in Monroe, he noticed concerning behavior. In Paxton's notes provided to WBRZ, notations are seen where Paxton wrote he told Greene's family to contact the FBI.
The investigative notes come amid ongoing reports from WBRZ and Chris Nakamoto. Earlier this week, a trooper revealed himself as a whistleblower in a TV interview and said, from what he's seen on the inside of State Police, a handful of troopers should be held accountable.
"I wouldn't be able to sleep peacefully at night knowing that I have knowledge of things being covered up," Carl Cavalier said in a tell-all interview this week. "[The Ronald Greene case is] a murder being covered up pretty much, if you ask me."
Cavalier asked that his identity not be hidden in interviews with Chris Nakamoto.
Until recently, State Police maintained Greene died as a result of a crash from a police chase. Troopers were in pursuit of Greene and the chase ended when Greene wrecked. Although, body camera showed later Greene was alive when he was detained after the chase and was heard talking to troopers.
"I'm sorry," he said at times. And, "I'm scared."
Troopers are seen in body camera video tasing Greene and beating him.
Paxton, the state trooper investigating the case, noted even the then head of State Police, Col. Kevin Reeves, was shocked at what was seen on the body camera video. Paxton made a note that Reeves called Greene's death "awful but lawful."
Tuesday, WBRZ and the Investigative Unit showed Paxton's notes suggested troopers should be arrested for the encounter with Greene. Paxton notes show he was stonewalled by top brass, including by Reeves and his right-hand officer Bob Brown, who were worried about the precedent of arresting a State Police trooper.
Paxton took detailed notes that were leaked to WBRZ's Chris Nakamoto. Among new notations highlighted in another report on WBRZ News 2 at 6:00 Wednesday were ones about the northeastern district attorney reviewing the case, frustration from ranking troopers about suggestions of wrongdoing during the altercation between Greene and the troopers and the idea that the Greene family should contact the FBI.
Paxton's notes are below:
October 23, 2019- Paxton is at an event with the governor.
"[District Attorney] John Belton told me he still hasn't made up his mind regarding the case. He said he had spoken to Col. Reeves and Col. Reeves said it was 'awful but lawful.'"
"When I finished the report and after I turned it in, I gave a copy to John Peters. Peters and Wayne Vidrine were mad I put Hollingsworth intentionally turned his cameras off. They said it didn't have anything to do with Greene's death. Bob Brown told us they said we were out to get Hollingsworth."
December 3, 2019- "I told Mona Hardin [sic] to call the FBI field office because they were supposed to be investigating it."
August 2020- "IA starts the investigation, they question why no arrest[s] were made."
September 18, 2020- "I talk to Scott Davis for the first time to discuss the case. Greene is giving up when he is tased.
Hollingsworth committed crimes not policy violations. York committed batteries and Clary watched and or stood by."
The trooper who took the unusual step to discuss concerns without hiding his identity said the case is casting a negative light on an agency that is tasked with keeping people safe.
"It's just heartbreaking going through my career, with honor and a badge," Cavalier said, "what the badge is supposed to stand for and you get things like this and it sends you in a different direction."
Cavalier said State Police data system log entries for the night of Greene's death were deleted.
State Police did not respond to questions related to this story. The agency also ignored specific inquiries for a story about other investigative notes reported Tuesday.
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