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5 Louisiana law enforcement officers indicted in death of Ronald Greene

By Jade Gordon, Alta Spells and Nick Valencia, CNN

Five law enforcement officers involved in the May 2019 death of Black motorist Ronald Greene have been indicted on state charges by a grand jury in Union Parish, Louisiana.

The charges brought against four Louisiana State Police (LSP) troopers and one Union Parish deputy range from negligent homicide to malfeasance in office and obstruction of justice, according to a copy of the indictment provided to CNN by Union Parish District Attorney John Belton.

Police said Greene, 49, died after he resisted arrest and struggled with officers. His family has said state police initially told them Greene died in a car crash after a police chase.

The family has filed a wrongful-death civil lawsuit against the troopers involved in the incident and their superiors. The family is seeking damages for all medical and funeral expenses.

Troopers say Greene’s death was “caused by crash-related blunt force chest trauma that resulted in a fractured sternum and ruptured aorta” and said they used force “for their own personal safety and for the safety of the public,” according to court documents.

But video released two years after the May 10, 2019, incident shows officers kicking, punching and using a Taser on Greene before he died in their custody.

The indictments mark the first time charges have been brought in Greene’s death.

Trooper Kory York was indicted on one count of negligent homicide and 10 counts of malfeasance in office. Union Parish Deputy Chris Harpin was indicted on three counts of malfeasance in office. LSP Lt. John Clary was indicted on one count of malfeasance in office and one count of obstruction of justice. Former Trooper Dakota DeMoss was indicted on one count of obstruction of justice.

John Peters, who CNN affiliate KNOE reports was a former LSP commander, was indicted on one count of obstruction of justice.

CNN has reached out to the indicted officers for comment.

York’s attorney, J. Michael Small, told CNN in a statement that he is “convinced that a fair minded jury in Union Parish will find Trooper York not guilty of all charges.”

He added: “There will be no plea bargaining.”

After the indictments, Louisiana State Police Superintendent Lamar Davis said in a statement: “Any instance of excessive force jeopardizes public safety and is a danger to our communities. These actions are inexcusable and have no place in professional public safety services.”

He said York and Clary will be put on paid administrative leave “pending the outcome of the legal proceedings.”

Davis said LSP has made “fundamental improvements to our operations, training, and administration” in the last two years. “These reforms have led to the implementation of critical changes throughout the department and the rebuilding of trust within the communities we serve.”

When contacted by CNN, Union Parish Sheriff Dusty Gates said, “No comment.”

Family remains unsatisfied

Greene’s mother, Mona Hardin, told CNN that she was on “cloud nine” Friday following the indictments — until she was told that two of the indicted officers had been placed on administrative leave.

“Louisiana State Police still make and break their own laws. They don’t want to hold them accountable,” Hardin said. “To be put on administrative leave, which is likely paid I’m sure, after the findings of the grand jury is deeply upsetting to me.”

“We are not done until someone goes to jail for this,” she added.

When asked by CNN if she believes her son died at the hands of police, Hardin said: “Without a doubt. Without a doubt. After seeing that video myself… within minutes I knew my son was not going to live through it. I saw it. Everyone can see it.”

Greene’s sister, Dinelle Hardin, said during a press conference Thursday night, “I’m really disappointed in the outcome, being that my brother was murdered. I feel bad for the people here in Louisiana. I don’t feel like there’s public safety for Black and Brown people.”

Dinelle Hardin called on Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and State Attorney General Jeff Landry to do a better job.

“Even though it was a small victory, we are still left heartbroken trying to pick up the pieces,” added Alana Hardin, another sister.

Greene’s family is calling on all law enforcement officers charged to be fired and arrested immediately.

Videos showed details

Videos of the arrest — released by the AP and then by the state police in May 2021 — revealed graphic details of the violent struggle.

York and DeMoss were both shown in the violent arrest video, along with Trooper Chris Hollingsworth, who died in a car crash in September 2020, according to the Ouachita Parish Coroner’s Office.

York initially received a 50-hour suspension for his role, according to the LSP. After serving his suspension, he returned to active duty pending the outcome of the review by federal and state authorities.

In May 2021, DeMoss was fired over an excessive force incident not involving Greene, according to a Louisiana state official with knowledge of the investigation.

Prior to the indictment, LSP told CNN that Clary was not disciplined due to insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegation that he intentionally withheld video evidence. He remained on active duty nearly three years after Greene’s death. He has been placed on administrative leave following his indictment.

Peters, the former commander of LSP Troop F, was reported to be retiring in the summer of 2021, after going on terminal leave in July, according to the Advocate.

It is unclear whether Harpin faced any disciplinary action prior to Thursday’s indictment.

™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Amanda Musa, Jade Gordon and Jay Croft contributed to this report.

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