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Ronald Greene's family meets with governor as activists call for criminal charges in deadly arrest

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BATON ROUGE - The family of Ronald Greene, a man who died in police custody after being beaten and tased, met with Governor John Bel Edwards Thursday afternoon as activists gathered at the state Capitol to call for the arrests of the officers involved.

The NAACP and Urban League of Louisiana are spearheading the demonstration on the steps of the capitol building around 3 p.m. Thursday.

"We're hurting," said Mona Hardin, Greene's mom. "We are really really hurting. And because we are here and came this far for answers and to leave the same pain with no answers... The mountains of disrespect... bothers me a lot."

Mona Hardin said not a day goes by that she doesn't feel heartbreak. It's especially concerning since nothing has happened two years since the death of her son in state police custody.

Attorneys representing the Greene family called for immediate action by Governor John Bel Edwards.

"The Governor is the head of Louisiana State Police," Lee Merritt said. "Louisiana State Police could take the initiative today. They have the legal cover to go out and make arrests. That's the only thing we are requesting in that meeting."

Merritt said nothing has changed despite two meetings with the governor.

"If it was left up to Governor John Bel Edwards, this meeting we had last September where this case was swept under the rug with minimal media attention... would have been the end of the story," Merritt said. "A 50-hour suspension and the death of an officer who we didn't get to see terminated. But the power is not in Governor John Bel Edwards. The cameras pointing at him and the national attention he's receiving shows who's in power, and that's Mona Hardin and the community standing behind her."

The governor released the following statement Thursday after meeting with the Greene family. 

“What happened was tragic, and I cannot imagine the immense pain of losing a child in such a terrible way,” said Gov. Edwards. “Nothing can make up for the disturbing treatment he received at the hands of some state troopers. I pledged to Ms. Mona Hardin that Louisiana State Police is cooperating fully with the Union Parish District Attorney and the United States Department of Justice in their investigations and that under the leadership of a new state police superintendent, change has already started at the agency.

I expect every trooper who wears a Louisiana State Police badge to act professionally under every circumstance, to seek to de-escalate violent or tense situations and to treat all people they encounter respectfully and justly. Law enforcement officers must hold themselves to the highest standards at all times. I certainly do. The officers seen on the body cam footage of Mr. Greene’s arrest do not represent what we aspire to in the state of Louisiana. Their actions were deeply unprofessional and incredibly disturbing. I am disappointed in them and in any officer who stood by and did not intervene during the arrest.

I am praying that ongoing investigations, which the state is cooperating with, will bring Mr. Greene’s family a measure of peace and justice.”

The meeting comes about a week after the Associated Press published leaked body camera video of Greene's arrest from May 2019 which showed officers beating and repeatedly tasing Greene after a pursuit just outside Monroe, Louisiana. WBRZ first reported on Greene's death in September 2020, but Louisiana State Police refused to officially release video from the arrest until last week when the AP published the leaked footage.

The ranking officer in Greene's arrest was also accused of withholding body camera video of the arrest.

Federal and state investigations into the actions of the troopers involved are ongoing.

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