It's been over a year since Ronald Greene died in police custody at age 49, but his family has only just seen the bodycam footage of his fatal arrest.
ABC News reports that Greene's mother, Mona Hardin, described the footage, which police have refused to release to the public, as "horrific." She said, "It's like I haven't awakened from this bad dream."
Greene, who was Black, died on May 10, 2019 after he allegedly failed to pull over for an unspecificed traffic violation. He led authorities on a chase in north Louisiana, after which Hardin was told her son had died from crashing into a tree. She disputed the police report, and claimed state troopers used excessive force when arresting him.
His family has shared photos of Greene from after his death, highlighting bruises and lacerations on and around his head and face. Images of his car showed only minor damage, leading the family to believe Greene did not die in a crash. In audio of the bodycam, Master Trooper Chris Hollingworth says, "I beat the ever-living fuck out of him," later telling his co-worker that he had "choked him and everything else, trying to get him under control."
Per Mona Hardin's description of the bodycam footage, Greene reportedly surrended with his hands up and apologized to the officers. "The law enforcement officers approached the vehicle shouting obscenities," said attorney Lee Merritt, who is representing Greene's family in a wrongful death lawsuit. "They immediately tased Ronald and [dragged] him from the car. ... Once they had him on the ground, Officer Chris Hollingsworth put him in a chokehold while the other officers tased him a second time and a third time."
It has been alleged that the troopers hurled insults at Greene and beat, choked, and used a stun gun on him after he was handcuffed. "His death certificate and this video are two different stories. It's horrific. I can't close my eyes and not see my son and what they did to him," said Hardin. "I find it hard to sleep. ... It was hard before; it's even harder now. It's unbelievable that this has gone this long."
The Louisiana State Police only opened an investigation into the death of Greene in August 2020, even though he died in May 2019. Six troopers were placed on administrative leave, including Hollingsworth, who died last month in a car crash the same day he was told he was fired. The FBI has since announced its own investigation into the incident, and plans to "collect all available facts and evidence and will ensure that the investigation is conducted in a fair, thorough and impartial manner."
Merritt says that the body camera video convinced the family that there "are additional officers that need to be arrested."