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Nearly 3 years after Ronald Greene’s death, family members and some lawmakers say police evaded accountability

Former Louisiana State Police Col. Kevin Reeves, who retired amid controversy surrounding his handling of Greene’s brutal arrest by state troopers, did not presented Thursday before the state police commission. The commission is handling the case of a state police whistleblower who is trying to reverse his dismissal after speaking out about Greene’s death in May 2019 and leaking documents related to Greene’s death.

CNN attempted to reach Reeves through his attorney, but never heard back.

The Greene family characterized Reeves’ no-show to CNN as another example of current and former leadership at LSP avoiding responsibility in the matter.

Greene, a 49-year-old black man, died on the night of May 10, 2019, after police said he resisted arrest and fought with officers. His family said they learned that Greene died in a car accident after a police chase.

Video of the incident released two years later showed officers kicking, punching and tasering Greene before he died in their custody.

For weeks, the Greene family and some lawmakers accused the LSP of being less than cooperative during a special legislative committee formed to investigate Greene’s death.

Dinelle Hardin, Greene’s sister, told CNN the family last spoke to federal investigators nine months ago in July 2021.

The whistleblower in the case, Carl Cavalier, a former Louisiana state trooper, was fired after accusing colleagues involved in Greene’s death of murder and an alleged inside cover-up. Since Greene’s death, several soldiers have come forward to testify that a cover-up had occurred in the highest ranks of the department. During testimony before the special legislative committee formed to investigate Greene’s death, Reeves denied that there was a cover-up.

Reeves’ absence on Thursday prompted Cavalier’s attorney to file a motion to hold the former LSP superintendent in contempt. Attorney Jill Craft made the same request for former Major Jason Turner, who also did not appear before the commission.

“For two former high-ranking officials to thumb their noses at subpoenas lawfully issued by the State Police Commission, I think that’s appalling,” Craft told CNN affiliate WBRZ.

Craft also expressed frustration with the LSP after he failed to provide requested texts and emails related to the Cavaliers’ dismissal, and according to Craft called his request “too onerous”.

The state police board said it would consider the contempt motion at a hearing in May.

Reeves retired in October 2020 amid allegations of stonewalling within his department. Recently, accusations surfaced that work cell phones used by him and other senior deputies, including Lt. Col. Doug Cain, were wiped clean after Greene’s death.

Last week, Cain was placed on administrative leave “pending the ongoing administrative investigation into the sanitization of his department’s cellphone,” according to a statement from the Louisiana State Police colonel. Lamar Davis. Cain was not at the scene of the incident involving Greene.

On March 22, Cain testified before a special committee of the Louisiana State Legislature investigating Greene’s death. During her testimony, State Representative Debbie Villio asked her why her cell phone had been disinfected. Cain replied, “I can’t talk to that lady.”

Senior Louisiana State Police officer on leave for phone data in Ronald Greene's death

After being pressed, he went on to say, “I can’t talk on my cell phone, ma’am. I’ve informed the president that there’s an internal investigation going on, to ensure Colonel Davis’s transparency, he look into this matter.”

As questions about the phone and transparency continued, Cain told the committee chair that he had been instructed not to speak to her.

CNN reached out to Cain for comment after he was placed on paid administrative leave, but did not hear back. We don’t know if Cain has a lawyer.

Meanwhile, John Belton, the district attorney for the local district where Greene died, told CNN that Reeves and Cain disagreed that the state troopers involved in Greene’s brutal arrest be charged. of a crime. In a 2020 meeting with Belton, Cain pushed back on Belton’s assessment of what he saw in body camera footage of the incident, Belton told CNN.

“There were certain crimes that I thought the officers had committed and he disagreed,” Belton said of the face-to-face meeting with Cain.

Belton wouldn’t give CNN details about the crimes he believes took place, adding that he shared his conversation with Cain with federal investigators.

Additionally, Belton last week verified before the special committee formed by the Louisiana legislature to investigate Greene’s death that the then-state police chief had told him that the incident involving Greene was “awful, but legal”. The comments were made in October 2019 at a Louisiana Tech event attended by Belton and Reeves, Belton testified on April 7.

In October 2020, Cain was promoted to assistant superintendent, nearly a year and a half after Greene’s death. Cain was appointed to the position by Davis.


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