Legislative committee looking into State Police cover-up of Ronald Greene's death sets first meeting
BATON ROUGE - Lawmakers on a committee to review how Louisiana State Police handled a 2019 arrest that ended with Ronald Greene's death in police custody will meet for the first time Tuesday, March 8.
WBRZ was first to report previously, Louisiana Speaker of the House Clay Schexnayder said the bipartisan group of lawmakers will review "all levels" of the incident, which will include seeking testimony from various people involved.
"It's concerning," Schexnayder said in an interview with WBRZ-TV in early February. "Here's the thing I've said from the get go, we will search out the truth. The truth will lead us in the right direction and that's where we will be. We will come up with a decision from there."
The hearing on March 8 is to set up the committee's organization. It does not appear that anyone will speak directly with lawmakers at the initial hearing, which lists its purpose as to "adopt a committee name, to adopt committee rules and discuss committee objectives."
The formation of the legislative committee cam after revelations from The WBRZ Investigative Unit and Associated Press in late January. That includes recent reports showing that second-in-command at State Police, Doug Cain, was implicated in the cover-up and that Governor John Bel Edwards was made aware of Greene's violent encounter with troopers just hours after it happened. The reports prompted a news conference from the governor last week where he distanced himself from the State Police investigation.
"The actions taken that night and the cryptic decisions and statements made every step of the way since then have eroded public trust. That trust can only be regained with a transparent and robust search for the whole truth in this matter," Schexnayder said in a statement.
Text messages recently obtained by WBRZ The Investigative Unit also show the governor and his staff were in contact with State Police officials discussing WBRZ's stories on Greene's death throughout last year.
Governor Edwards released his own statement in response to the creation of the committee, maintaining that he did not cover up Greene's death.
"I am certain that any fair and impartial investigation will conclude that I made no attempt to impede or interfere with any investigation into Mr. Greene's death. Any allegation to the contrary is simply not true," Edwards' statement read in part.
In 2019, State Police initially informed Greene's family that he died from injuries suffered when he crashed his vehicle at the end of a high-speed police chase. In May 2021, two years after his death, leaked body camera video showed troopers dragging Greene from his wrecked vehicle while pleading with officers. The video went on to show Greene being beaten, tased and dragged by his legs while in handcuffs.
"The truth must come out to show what happened in this case and in the events that followed. The public demands it and the family deserves it. No crime should be ignored, no cover up will be tolerated,” Schexnayder said.
The select committee includes the following House members:
-Rep. Tanner Magee, Chairman
-Rep. Tony Bacala
-Rep. Jason Hughes
-Rep. Edmond Jordan
-Rep. Mandie Landry
-Rep.C. Denise Marcelle
-Rep. Richard Nelson
-Rep. Debbie Villio