La. prosecutor expected to move forward with state charges against troopers involved in Ronald Greene's death
BATON ROUGE- Union Parish District Attorney John Belton is expected to move forward with a Louisiana-based grand jury and state charges against State Police agents involved in the in-custody death of Ronald Greene.
It's the biggest move yet in an investigation that may result in charges related to the 2019 death that has been the focus of multiple, exclusive WBRZ investigative reports by Chris Nakamoto.
Belton shared the news with Nakamoto and lawmakers Thursday. At first, Belton was asked by federal authorities to wait to make a prosecution decision on state charges. He said federal authorities have withdrawn the request and he can now proceed with state charges against those who played a role in Greene's death.
Federal agents, though, will continue to investigate whether civil rights violations were committed in the death of Ronald Greene.
Belton said he contacted the feds when he first saw the videos when he saw what appeared to be civil rights violations. Almost immediately, the feds asked him not to do anything on the state level until they were completed with their investigation.
Belton told WBRZ he was limited in what he could say because of the on going criminal investigation, but he expected a special grand jury to meet multiple times due to the volumes of evidence they will have to comb through. Belton said that special grand jury will be convened to hear the evidence and those jurors will be looking at whether crimes were committed by state troopers the night Greene died.
"I can't comment on specific state charges, but I do believe crimes were committed," Belton said. "It would be unethical and may jeopardize the case which charges that i would have the grand jury look into."
Greene led troopers on a high speed chase nearly three years ago, on May 10, 2019. Since then, there has been public outrage when body camera footage showed troopers brutally beating him. He died in custody.
Initially, Louisiana State Police told Ronald Greene's family he died in a crash. However, body camera footage did not support the story from State Police. The WBRZ Investigative Unit uncovered top leaders at State Police had their phone's sanitized amid a state and federal investigation into Greene's death and some body camera footage was hidden from investigators.
Investigating troopers noted a coverup that went all the way at the top and even attempts to keep critical evidence from in-house investigators.
Thursday, a special committee looking into Greene's death met once again grilling Colonel Lamar Davis about the organization going after whistleblowers and not taking action against the troopers tied to Greene's death.
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