Questions in Ronald Greene's Death Bring FBI Into Case

Trooper about to be fired after investigation suffers critical injuries in accident
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2020 6:40 PM CDT
Questions in Ronald Greene's Death Bring FBI Into Case
A photo provided by the family of Ronald Greene shows his vehicle after it was released by the Louisiana State Police.   (Family photo via AP)

The FBI has launched a civil rights investigation after Ronald Greene's family raised doubts about the official account of his death last year. Louisiana authorities had told the family that Greene failed to stop after a traffic violation and died of injuries caused by a crash after a high-speed chase. On Monday, a state trooper who had just learned he was being fired after an internal investigation into Greene's death suffered critical injuries in a highway accident, the AP reports. Chris Hollingsworth had been suspended last month, after photos posted online cast doubt on the official account of Greene's death, per the New York Times. "The brutality used against him, that was not what his family was told," said Lee Merritt, a lawyer for the family. "It appears that Mr. Greene was sat upon by several officers who tased him repeatedly and beat him before he entered cardiac arrest." The photos show Greene's face to be bloody and bruised, and the car appears to have only light damage.

The lawsuit names Hollingsworth as being involved in the May 10, 2019, encounter, per the News-Star. Louisiana State Police would not say why actions were not being taken against the trooper until now. The official crash report says Greene resisted arrest, struggled with troopers, and died on the way to a hospital. The lawsuit says two troopers held Greene down while using "lethal force" as he implored them to stop. EMTs arrived to find Greene unresponsive with Taser barbs, the suit says. The parish autopsy ruled the death accidental, caused by cardiac arrest. But an independent autopsy ordered by the family found severe injuries to Greene's skull, as well as face wounds, the lawyer said, and an expert found damage to the car "inconsistent with a fatal collision." While he was pinned down, Greene repeatedly told the troopers, "I'm sorry," the suit says. (The Breonna Taylor settlement set a record.)

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