High-ranking Louisiana State Police officers confirm coverup in Ronald Greene's death
A high-ranking officer with the Louisiana State Police confirmed a coverup within the agency in connection with the 2019 death of Ronald Greene during his violent, fatal arrest by trooper in Union Parish near Monroe.
"When you're talking coverup, potential coverup — we're agreeing with you," Lt. Col. Kenny Van Buren testified late Thursday during a special state House committee hearing. "That was a push to distort that what was."
Greene died after a brutal beating by troopers during an arrest following a two-parish, high-speed chase in which his death was first blamed on the crash before the violent videos of the incident became public.
Van Buren testified in front of a special House committee convened to investigate Greene's death.
Retired Capt. Mark Richards said he was ordered to block the crash report "from being distributed."
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Richards said he found that order "highly irregular" and that he "took offense."
"It was very clear there was a narrative being pushed," Richards said.
Richards said he believes the alleged coverup went "all the way to the top."
"People (in State Police) are either retiring in disgrace or retiring in disgust," Richards said. "I'm one of those (retiring in disgust). I couldn't take it anymore. I should still be there."
No trooper on the scene of Greene's arrest has been arrested or charged with any crime.
John Belton, the district attorney in Lincoln and Union Parish, told the committee earlier this month he will convene a grand jury seeking an indictment.
Testimony in previous committee hearings from the agency's own former use-of-force expert described Greene's treatment as "torture and murder."
Van Buren said he agreed with that assessment, saying, "I'm left mystified that there have been no indictments."
Democratic Baton Rouge Rep. Edmond Jordan said confirmation of a coverup should lead to more questions.
"We've answered the question about whether there was a coverup," Jordan said addressing Van Buren. "Why didn't you go a step farther to see who is behind the coverup."
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1