By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Two years ago, Louisiana State Police Master Trooper Kory York shackled and dragged a handcuffed Ronald Greene, a Black man, on his stomach and violently arrested him following a chase in the city of Monroe.
Greene later died while in custody.
This week, authorities announced they had suspended York and acknowledged that Greene “was mistreated.”
The admission came after Greene’s family viewed graphic body camera footage of the arrest that included York using a barrage of expletives as he detained the Black motorist.
York and other troopers were seen on the video choking and beating Greene.
They repeatedly used stun guns on Greene and dragged him face-down across the concrete pavement, Greene’s family attorney told the Associated Press.
The news service reported that State Police have repeatedly refused to release the body camera footage publicly.
“The agency has been tight-lipped about Greene’s death and initially blamed the man’s fatal injuries on a car crash outside Monroe,” the report noted.
York shut off his body camera, but other cameras captured him pulling at Greene’s shackles and repeatedly directing profanity towards him.
“You’re gonna lay on your [expletive, expletive, expletive, expletive, expletive, expletive] belly like I told you!” York yelled at one point, according to the police records.
The suspension of York comes as the U.S. House of Representatives are pushing ahead with the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021.
The bold, comprehensive approach to hold police accountable, change law enforcement culture, empower communities, and build trust between law enforcement and our communities, seeks to address systemic racism and bias to help save lives.
During the last Congress, the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act was passed by a bipartisan vote of 236 to 181.
Every House Democrat and three Republicans voted in support of the bill, Representatives Fred Upton (R-MI), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Will Hurd (R-TX).
Under the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, for the first time ever, federal law would:
- ban chokeholds
- end racial and religious profiling
- eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement
- establish a national standard for the operation of police departments
- mandate data collection on police encounters
- reprogram existing funds to invest in transformative community-based policing programs and
- streamline federal law to prosecute excessive force and establish independent prosecutors for police investigations
“Last summer, hundreds of thousands took to the streets to demand change that ends police brutality, holds police officers accountable, and calls for transparency in our system of policing,” Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.) stated.
“Due to inaction, more than 100 unarmed people have been killed or brutalized by police since then. For more than 100 years, Black communities in America have sadly been marching against police abuse and calling for the police to protect and serve them as they do others,” Bass added.
In the Greene case, the AP added that York was suspended without pay for 50 hours following an internal investigation.
The investigation also led to the termination of another trooper, Chris Hollingsworth.
Hollingsworth died in a single-car crash after learning he had been fired over his role in the incident.
The AP last year published a 27-second audio clip from Hollingsworth’s body camera in which he can be heard telling a colleague, “I beat the ever-living f— out of” Greene before he “all of a sudden he just went limp.”
“It is now undisputed that Trooper York participated in the brutal assault that took Ronald Greene’s life,” said Mark Maguire, a Philadelphia civil rights attorney who represents Greene’s family, told the AP.
“This suspension is a start, but it does not come close to the full transparency and accountability the family continues to seek.”
According to the report, York told investigators he turned his body-worn camera off because it was beeping loudly and that his “mind was on other things” after arriving at the scene.
“I didn’t think about it,” he said.
According to the AP, the trooper who initially chased Greene, Dakota DeMoss, was recently arrested in connection with a separate police pursuit last year. He and two other troopers allegedly used excessive force while handcuffing a motorist.
“Those charges followed a months long internal investigation into use-of-force incidents involving troopers in the northern part of the state,” the report continued.
It’s not clear whether DeMoss has been disciplined in Greene’s arrest.