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In newly obtained video footage that relatives have called “horrific,” Louisiana Troopers can be seen dragging, punching, swearing at and tasing Ronald Greene before his 2019 death, which is the subject of a federal civil rights investigation.
The footage, obtained by the Associated Press after two years of police refusing to hand it over, shows the 49-year-old Black man apologizing for a high-speed chase as officers drag him by his feet, use a stun gun, punch him in the face, and call him a “stupid motherf*cker.” Troopers had initially told Greene’s family that he died on impact after hitting a tree during the chase, only later releasing a statement acknowledging his death took place after a police struggle.
In the video, Greene can be heard apologizing to the white police officers, who say that they “hope this guy ain’t got f*cking AIDS” and refuse to offer help, leaving him lying face down for nine minutes moaning as they wipe blood off their hands and faces with sanitizer wipes.
Six troopers were present but not all had their body cameras on, the AP reports, while audio from the footage appears to be cut at certain points in the video—much of it which Greene is not on screen for.
“They murdered him. It was set out, it was planned,” Mona Hardin, Greene’s mother, said on Wednesday. “He didn’t have a chance. Ronnie didn’t have a chance. He wasn’t going to live to tell about it.”
Family lawyer Lee Merritt said that Green apologized in “an attempt to surrender,” adding that the clip “has some of the same hallmarks of the George Floyd video, the length of it, the sheer brutality of it.”
Louisiana State Police did not comment on the video itself and instead shared that “premature public release of investigative files and video evidence in this case is not authorized and … undermines the investigative process and compromises the fair and impartial outcome,” initially arguing that the officers’ use of force was “awful but lawful,” and did not open an investigation until 474 days later.
“Police departments have got to stop putting roadblocks up to information that is, in the public’s eye, questionable. They have to reveal all that they know, when they know it,” Andrew Scott, a former police chief and use-of-force expert told the AP. “It suggests that you’re hiding something.”