Louisiana State Police Colonel Kevin Reeves retires amid growing controversy
Louisiana State Police Col. Kevin Reeves is retiring Friday amid growing criticism of the agency's handling of the case of a West Monroe man who died while in police custody following a high speed chase in May 2019.
Gov. John Bel Edwards and Reeves, 51, announced Reeves' retirement Tuesday. Edwards said a replacement will be named in the coming days.
Neither Edwards nor Reeves referred to the Ronald Greene case in their statements about the retirement, which they said has been in the works for a year.
"Col. Reeves has been a model of professionalism," Edwards said. "His experience made him a steady and strong leader in trying times, and I personally thank him ..."
"As humbling as this opportunity has been, my greatest professional accomplishment remains the title of trooper, a title I have the honor of sharing with the over 1,100 men and women who wear our badge," Reeves said. "Throughout my career, I have advocated for the men and women of the Louisiana State Police and the heroic work they do each and every day."
Edwards said in a Tuesday afternoon press conference he didn't ask Reeves to retire. "I didn't lose any confidence in Col. Reeves," he said.
The Louisiana NAACP and members of the Legislative Black Caucus asked for Reeves' resignation and for more transparency in the Greene case in recent weeks.
State Police first told the Greene family he died as a result of a car crash following a high speed chase that ended in Union Parish.
But that story soon fell apart as evidence showed Green was tased, choked and dragged by police before he died.
Trooper Chris Hollingsworth died in a single-car crash in Monroe last month just hours after learning he had been fired over his role in the incident.
Greene's family and Gov. Edwards finally viewed body camera footage from the incident earlier this month. It hasn't been made public.
During an audio clip obtained by the Associated Press, Hollingsworth can be heard telling a colleague, “I beat the ever-living f--- out of him,” and graphic pictures of Greene’s body released by his family showed deep bruises to his face and cuts on his head.
The incident is now under investigation by the FBI as a federal civil rights case.
Edwards first appointed Reeves to lead the agency in March 2017.
Reeves, a 30-year veteran, had been the commander for the central and northern Louisiana troops before taking over as colonel.
Reeves replaced Col. Mike Edmonson, who announced his retirement following a controversy over lavish State Police travel expenses and questionable overtime by some troopers — trooper travel gate.
Reeves, a Baton Rouge native who lives in Jackson Parish, began his career in 1990 at Troop A in Baton Rouge as a motorcycle officer. He transferred in 1993 to Troop F in Monroe, where he worked in the patrol divisions as a resident trooper in Jackson Parish.
He was promoted to sergeant in 1998 and worked as a shift supervisor.
Reeves was promoted to lieutenant in 2003 and was eventually named Troop F Commander in 2008 before taking over as Region III commander in 2013.
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1