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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Lawmakers demand police journals in Ronald Green investigation

Lawmakers Demand Police Journals In Ronald Green Investigation

by Jake Bleiberg and Jim Mustaine | The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — Lawmakers investigating the fatal arrest of black motorist Ronald Greene prepare to hold the former Louisiana state police chief in contempt, as a brawl that referred to police brutality and the government Monday escalated. was refused to turn over their magazines after talks broke down. John Bel Edwards.

The bipartisan committee would move “as soon as possible” to accuse Kevin Reeves of contempt and begin legal proceedings to force him to turn over three handwritten journals, which he entrusted while leading the agency, State Representative Tanner Magee, who chairs the panel, told The Associated Press.

Holding the former head of state’s premier law enforcement agency in contempt will mark a massive escalation by the committee, which has already received explosive testimony from current police officers that they believe will lead to Greene’s 2019 His death was covered up and his beating by soldiers after a high-speed chase amounted to “torture and murder”.

Reeves’ attorney, Lewis Unglesby, said he had photocopied about a dozen journal entries to give to Maggie during a meeting, but the legislators were “excited and left” without the material.

“Col. Reeves is not in contempt for anything,” Unlesby told the Associated Press. “He has done nothing but be cooperative.”

The committee, formed in February after an Associated Press report, informed Edwards within hours that the soldiers who arrested Green had waged a “violent, protracted struggle.” Yet Democrats mostly remained silent on the matter for two years as state troops told Green’s family and reported that he died as a result of a car accident after a speeding chase outside Monroe.

The governor has said he stopped talking about the soldiers’ actions – even after privately viewing graphic body camera footage of the arrests – because of the ongoing federal investigation. He has since called the actions of the soldiers involved criminal and racist.

The Associated Press obtained and published a long-pause body-camera video last year that showed what really happened: Soldiers jostled Greene with a stun gun, punched him in the face and hit him with his ankle. As he shouted, “I’m your brother! I’m scared! I’m scared!”

The eight-member legislative panel has been interviewing state police and other officials for weeks to reorganize the agency handling the case. Last week, a senior state police officer told lawmakers he was “mysterious” that no soldier has yet faced criminal charges in Green’s death. Another ranking official offered an extraordinary apology from Green’s family, describing the 49-year-old’s fatal arrest as “a complete disregard for the sanctity of human life.”

Lawmakers have said they intend to investigate what Edwards knew and when he knew it, but none of his staff has yet been called to testify.

Reeves, who called Green’s death “horrific but legitimate” and stepped down at the end of 2020 amid criticism, sought to downplay his involvement in the case. He told lawmakers in March that he had follow-up talks with Edwards about Greene’s death – the initial coroner’s findings – but said the two did not discuss the matter “in any depth” until the end of 2020, When Green’s abuses and a federal civil rights investigation surfaced in media accounts.

In his testimony, Reeves also disclosed that he kept a journal with contemporary notes even after retiring as superintendent, but did not commit to providing them to the committee.
“My magazine is my personal business,” he said, “and I’m not here to discuss it.”

Lawmakers issued a subpoena to the magazines in April, days after Reeves’ attorney declined by letter to voluntarily return him, citing privacy and security concerns.

Magee, a Republican, said he sat down in Unlesby’s office on Monday to discuss which parts of the “three small, moleskin journals” were relevant to the committee’s investigation. During the meeting, lawyers were prepared to provide entries that mentioned Green by name, but also opposed showing other parts to Maggie without justification, the lawmaker said.

The conversation broke out on June 17, 2020, with Maggie mentioning the governor’s name along with body camera footage and notes on how to handle police brutality in the future.

Maggie said she thought the admission – which was made around the time that there were nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd – could be related to Greene’s death. But he said Unglesby denied it and refused to turn it down, describing it as “just a random discussion on police brutality.”

“So I told him we were going to go ahead with the contempt charges,” Maggie said.

Unglesby said he later emailed and faxed the entries prepared for release to Maggie, but withheld some entries that included “names and incidents” that did not pertain to the committee’s scope. He declined to release the material to the Associated Press.

World Nation News Desk
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