Nakamoto exclusive: Ronald Greene investigative notes show troopers asked for colleagues to be arrested
BATON ROUGE – Rank and file state troopers wanted their colleagues charged in the death of Ronald Greene, a Black man who died after a bloody altercation while in State Police custody in May 2019, case notes leaked to WBRZ show.
The case notes and an unprecedented interview with a state trooper shed more light into the behind-the-scenes effort to try to spin Greene’s death away from Louisiana State Police. In the interview, an active state trooper discussed what he believes to be cover-ups that kept his colleagues from facing arrest after Greene’s death.
Greene died after an encounter with troopers in Troop F, which covers northeast Louisiana and is headquartered in Monroe. State Police were in pursuit of Greene who was behind the wheel of a small car when it crashed and troopers placed him into custody.
Greene is heard on troopers’ body cameras exclaiming “I’m sorry” and “I’m scared” as he was detained by State Police. Video later showed Greene alive after the crash and is seen being accosted by troopers. In a leaked audio recording, one trooper is heard saying “I beat the ever-living f*** out of him.”
Amid a series of WBRZ Investigative Unit reports on Greene’s death, State Police memos and the reassignment of a top agency attorney, the trooper who wanted to be interviewed for the latest story said it was time he shared what he said was the truth.
"I love what I do,” trooper Carl Cavalier said in an interview first seen on WBRZ News 2 at 6:00 Tuesday evening. He continued, “but we still have murderers, in my eyes, on the job. Guys who received a slap on the wrist for their roles in the Ronald Greene incident are unpunished... patrolling the streets and left on the job."
It’s not immediately clear what will come of Cavalier’s career after appearing on TV in an interview with WBRZ and Chris Nakamoto. He asked that his name be revealed and his identity shown on TV, believing it would be a miscarriage of justice if he lost his job.
Cavalier said he felt compelled to come forward after receiving a copy of the investigative notes on Greene’s death written by another trooper.
WBRZ obtained a copy of the investigative notes, filed with top brass at State Police. The notes are from investigating trooper Albert Paxton, tasked to look into Greene's death. Paxton's notes show he was stonewalled and noted difficult conversations with former Colonel Kevin Reeves and his right-hand man, Bob Brown.
Paxton took copious and detailed notes tied to the Greene incident. His investigation started within days of Greene’s death. Paxton notates his belief troopers should be charged and why Col. Reeves wanted to sway the blame elsewhere.
Among some of the items in Paxton's notes:
May 17, 2019... Albert Paxton writes, "We felt we should arrest Hollingsworth." That was seven days after Ronald Greene's death.
On May 27, 2019... at a golf tournament. Colonel Kevin Reeves is approached about this. "[Someone else] tells Colonel Reeves our concerns and makes him aware of the case. Colonel Reeves says we can't arrest troopers for turning off cameras because it will set a precedent."
Two months later... Paxton notes that ranking State Police brass "want to argue the crash killed him."
The District Attorney in Lincoln and Union Parishes John Belton meets with investigators on September 9, 2019... "We show him the video and go over the entire case. Mr. Belton says the video is the worst thing he has ever seen."
Cavalier, the trooper who spoke with WBRZ, believes there needs to be arrests, including of the former agency head.
"Former Colonel Kevin Reeves, he needs to go to jail," Cavalier said. "Anyone that is part of the cover-up and anyone on the scene that failed to act or acted inappropriately for sure."
"Hollingsworth was able to go a whole year without being punished or investigated because of his supervisors and the people around him," Cavalier said. "They had the same mindset and were ok with what he did."
Hollingsworth later died in an off-duty crash. State Police were planning to fire him, WBRZ has reported.
Cavalier said he saw his own family in Greene’s each time they appeared on the news: "Me, seeing Ms. Mona Harding, Ronald Greene's mother on TV, just having a feeling of, ‘what if that's my mother; What if Ronald Greene was me?’”
“Here's the thing and this is part of the reason why I'm here,” Cavalier told Nakamoto, “[The notes] should be turned over to the feds. If they don't have them, I hope they have them. I could not stand by and say ‘maybe the feds have them, maybe they don't.’ I'll say after this airs, they'll have them.”
State Police did not respond to requests for comments about the case notes or Cavalier’s interview.