Louisiana Governor Denies Cover-up in Killing of Black Man by State Police – Opinion

Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democratic governor in the deep red state of Louisiana, is facing criticism after it was revealed he received a text message from the head of Louisiana State Police the night of Ronald Greene’s death.

After a fast chase through three parishes, Greene was brutally beat by state troopers. Greene crashed into Union Parish. Greene was captured and beat until he stopped responding to Union Parish officers. Later, he was declared deceased at the hospital.

The Associated Press has dashcam footage of the incident. This allows us to confirm that he was beaten. The state police had claimed Greene was involved in the car accident until questions began to be raised and the public were requested. This case was made scandalous by the Department of Justice.

On the morning of Greene’s death Governor Edwards received a text say from then-commander of state police, Kevin Reeves, saying

Good morning. A FYI

This morning toopers tried to stop an Ouachita parish vehicle. Driver fled through [sic]The speed limit for two parishes was over 110 mph. Eventually, the driver crashed. Troopers tried to arrest the driver. However, the driver was violently beaten and fought for his freedom. Troopers fought the suspect several times before the Union Parish deputy joined them and they took the suspect into custody. EMS was summoned to assess the suspect’s injuries. The suspect remained aggressive but stopped responding shortly before EMS reached him. At the hospital, the suspect was finally declared dead. We are investigating the suspect’s death.

The Associated Press requested another record request for this text message. Edwards’ reply of “Thank you” is seen in this screenshot of the texts.

Edwards is not pleased with all of it. He was aware right from the beginning that the description given by Greene about this individual was accurate. Scott McKay at The HayrideThis article explains why Edwards is having some problems.

  • Edwards came from a law enforcement background and was thick as thieves with the State Police from the very beginning of his 2015 gubernatorial run – and he even corrupted the Louisiana State Troopers’ Association in order to get their endorsement and money that year. When a scandal broke as a result, Edwards appointed a personal friend and the head of his transition team, trial lawyer and former sate legislator Taylor Townsend, to “investigate” the situation. Townsend whitewashed the whole thing in a fashion reminiscent of a banana republic.
  • Edwards more or less looked the other way as another scandal emerged about then-commander Mike Edmonson and his various scams and crony pilfering the taxpayers’ money. The mainstream media let the case go after a brief flirtation and Edmonson retired in retirement.
  • Edwards realized by 2019 spring that he was likely to lose the re-election election without significant black turnout. In preparation to create a large turnout engine in the state and raise money for it, he began greasing the black politicians.
  • After Greene crashed into a tree and was chased by police, a few state troopers attacked him on the roadside of Union Parish. Greene was probably legally drunk and definitely stupid to flee from police after he ran a red light, but he wasn’t a career criminal. He needed to be arrested and charged with a bunch of things, and probably given a hefty fine and several hundred hours of community service, not to mention losing his driver’s license. He was instead made into a bloody mess in 45 minutes while begging repeatedly for his life.
  • The official word went out, even to Greene’s family, that he had died in a car crash. There was a lot of coverup, even an autopsy. The case involved high-ranking State Police officers who were promoted and given other perquisites.
  • Edwards was able to win a close race for reelection with an even higher black vote than Barack Obama in Louisiana. The Greene case was not even mentioned in the election.

That brings us to yesterday’s press conference. Edwards spent a lot of time meeting with Louisiana’s Black Legislative Conference yesterday during the day, then held a press event in the afternoon. Edwards denied that he had done anything to cover up the incident or interfere in its investigation. “I’ve never done anything to impede an investigation or prevent justice from being served,” he told those in attendance. “The implication that I knew more and tried to cover it up is simply and categorically false.”

The press event was held a day after Republican House Speaker Clay Schexnayder called for an investigation and used phrasing similar to Louisiana’s statutory language for impeachment. Edwards dismissed the possibility and insisted that the accusations were “utterly false and baseless.”

But the problem for Edwards isn’t necessarily criminal. They have morality and ethics. The state police claimed Greene’s death was the result of a car crash. Edwards’ office says he did not know about the dashcam footage until October 2020, a half year before the video became public, but Edwards didn’t have any comment until much later.

It’s not about a criminal cover-up. Public responsibility is the goal. The Edwards administration ought to have responded, given the obvious lies of the state police about this incident. Edwards wouldn’t have been able to win re-election without such a large black vote in 2019. They make up 60 percent of the Democratic Party’s voter base in Louisiana, and even if that weren’t the case, it’s part of the job of being Governor. As the leader of state government, you must ensure that corruption and lack thereof do not take root.

But that’s exactly what happened.

None of the black legislators who were all in Baton Rouge for yesterday’s press conference were absent. You can also see it hereThis marked the beginning of the redistricting special session. Edwards, who was also at the meeting with Black Legislative Caucus, left to organize the press event. This is a sign of the lack of support by the public for these politicians.

They may have known Edwards would not show any mercy in this matter. Edwards fought for his rights and stood firm. He didn’t seem to feel any regret for having not done more.

Vincent Pierre is the Black Legislative Conference’s leader. Via USA Today Network

The governor met with the Legislative Black Caucus before Tuesday’s press conference, where he made his case before them as well.

Legislative Black Caucus Chair Vincent Pierre of Lafayette told USA Today Network members still support the governor, but weren’t satisfied with his handling of the Greene case.

“We do believe he could have handled it much better, especially with communications to the State Police,” Pierre said.

Pierre and Cleo Fields, a prominent black politician, didn’t seem to be willing to support the cause. Perhaps, even though they were fighting for a second majority-minority congressional district, real negotiations will focus on more minorities districts, which would wipe out white Democrats, who have led the party too long and not offered much to black voters. The whispers behind the scenes are that you’ll see maps come out that do exactly that – with the GOP, who runs both the House and Senate, giving their full blessing.

This was inevitable, but the scandal seems to have given the black Democrats at the legislature more reasons to accept it.

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