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Ronald Greene’s family marches arm in arm with supporters as they seek justice

Andrew Cuomo

The mother of Ronald Greene, the Black man who died in an encounter with Louisiana State Police in 2019, led a crowd dressed in green on a march from the state Capitol building to the governor’s mansion in Baton Rouge on Thursday.

Marchers chanted “Black lives matter” and “justice for Ronald Greene” at the event organized with the NAACP and the ACLU.

“Two years is too long, but not too late for justice,” family attorney Ron Haley said at the rally.

Greene, 49, died after a May 2019 police chase and his death has been under investigation for two years. His family said they were initially told he died on impact, but a series of graphic videos that were made public this month showed officers tasing and wrestling Greene after the crash.

Before the rally, family attorneys met with John Belton, district attorney for the Third Judicial District, to discuss the possibility of state criminal charges against the officers involved.

“What makes sense to us would be a charge of homicide on the officers that put their hands on Ronald Greene and we want those also that participated in the cover-up that night and subsequently afterward to face punishment as well,” Haley told CNN on Thursday.

Lee Merritt, another family attorney, told reporters they were “reassured” at the meeting with Belton that prosecutors were reviewing evidence to present to a grand jury and “would seek criminal (accountability) for these officers.”

Greene’s family also met with Gov. John Bel Edwards. Merritt described the mood of the 45-minute meeting as “tense” but “respectful” and said “nothing of substance” came of the encounter.

In a statement, Edwards said he pledged to Greene’s mother Mona Hardin that the “Louisiana State Police is cooperating fully with the Union Parish District Attorney and the United States Department of Justice in their investigations.”

Sister calls on the governor

Ahead of the meeting, Greene’s sister called on Edwards and his team to “come together and do what’s right” and said the officers involved in her brother’s arrest should be held accountable.

“Something needs to happen right now,” Dinelle Hardin told CNN. “Not tomorrow. Not next week. We need action to be taken immediately.”

The family on Thursday sought a meeting with Attorney General Jeff Landry, who, in a statement, offered his “condolences and prayers” and said the state constitution does not give his office jurisdiction in criminal cases.

Merritt criticized Landry for not reaching out to the Greene family.

Trooper will be fired for unrelated case

Meanwhile, Trooper Dakota DeMoss, who was involved in Greene’s arrest, will be fired over an excessive force incident not involving Greene, a Louisiana state official with knowledge of the investigation said Tuesday.

The dismissal is pending official paperwork, the official said, but did not provide details of the other case.

Kory York, another trooper involved in the incident, was disciplined by state police for his role in Greene’s death, the official said, adding York is awaiting the outcome of a federal review. York completed a 50-hour suspension and returned to duty pending the outcome of the review.

CNN has reached out to an attorney for DeMoss but has not heard back. York’s attorney, Jay Adams, told CNN last Wednesday they had no comment on the pending litigation.

The newly released footage from the state comes from cameras that were used by Lt. John Clary, Trooper Chris Hollingsworth, York and DeMoss, who are White.

Hollingsworth was set to be terminated for violations regarding body-worn camera and car camera systems, use of force, performance, lawful orders and for conduct unbecoming an officer, but he died in a car crash before he could be fired, Superintendent of Louisiana State Police Col. Lamar Davis said last week.

Clary, a senior officer who came to the scene of Greene’s arrest, did not initially report his camera footage in the evidence submitted to District Attorney John Belton, a Louisiana State Police spokesperson said.

CNN’s previous attempts to reach Clary were not successful and an attorney listed for him in a lawsuit didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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