I have always been amazed by the immediate, long-lasting impact of the media on cultural/current events. This is the case with the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day.” Since its release, people have discussed the problem of being trapped in a metaphorical loop of activities from which they cannot escape. Even those who didn’t see the film are familiar with this theme.
Viewing the news, I was introduced to the case of Ronald Greene, which occurred in my home state of Louisiana in 2019. Greene was a 49-year-old Black male who was brought into the Glenwood Regional Medical Center emergency room by members of the Louisiana State Highway Patrol. He was reported as the DOA victim of a single-car collision between his automobile and a tree. Injuries from his “accident” were fatal. The attending ER found this suspicious since, in addition to his bruised and broken body, there were found the two prongs of a police taser.
For two years, Louisiana State Police authorities withheld the body-camera videos of the event from public view. The Associated Press was able to obtain these videos, which disclosed another vicious, extra-legal attack on a Black man. The minimal damage to Greene’s vehicle belied the excuse of fatal injuries suffered in a crash.
Axios reports that the following statements can be heard:
Greene (after being tasered in his vehicle): “I’m your brother! I’m scared! I’m scared!”
Trooper: “Look, you’re going to get it again if you don’t put your f—— hands behind your back!”
Trooper (referring to Greene): “Stupid motherf—er.”
The trooper can be heard saying that he “beat the ever-living f— out of him. … Choked him and everything else trying to get him under control. He was spitting blood everywhere, and all of a sudden he just went limp.”
The arrest of Greene is now the subject of a federal civil rights investigation. The refusal of the LSP to release body-camera footage for two years and inconsistencies in police reporting of events suggest cover-up. According to AP, body-camera footage from in-custody deaths is typically released immediately. Troopers on the scene of the arrest first claimed that Greene died on impact after crashing his vehicle into a tree during a chase. State police later released a statement saying Greene struggled with troopers and died on the way to the hospital. Footage shows Greene raising his hands and surrendering to officers after crashing his SUV and apologizing for leading them on the chase.
After a two-year cover-up, there has been no justice for Mr. Greene’s family. According to the AP, the trooper in question died in a single-vehicle crash hours after learning he would be fired over the Greene case. Two other troopers remain, one awaiting administrative action.
In an overview, we should be reminded that the LSP motto is: “Courtesy, Loyalty, Service!” with a commitment to ensure the safety and security of the people in the state through enforcement, education and providing of other essential public safety services.
Although Mr. Greene’s event preceded George Floyd’s, like Bill Murray in the film, we continue to wake up to a series of events that result in the deaths of Black men and women. The response of the administrators who are otherwise expected to render impartial judgments regarding the propriety of conduct or the fitness of officers to objectively enforce the laws seems, in many cases, to be turning a blind eye. As their psychopathic subordinates in the case of Andrew Brown Jr., when dealing with persons of color, they likewise consider complexion as a weapon, and no measure is too extreme in physically controlling these animals of color.
After all, who but a psychopath would treat another HUMAN BEING with the brutality we have recently witnessed?
Williams is president of the National Congress of Black Women.