Should Consent Decree Be Forced on Louisiana State Police?

Courtesy of the Louisiana State Police Facebook Account.

At a news conference held today at the State Capitol, the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus has prepared a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland asking that the Department of Justice (DOJ) undertake a “full scale top-to-bottom practices and patterns investigation” of the Louisiana State Police. 

LLBC Chair State Rep. Ted James requested the federal investigation because of how the LSP handled and apparently tried to cover up the death of motorist Ronald Greene in May 2019. 

Monroe area state troopers tried to pull Greene over for a traffic violation, and after a high-speed chase, subsequently beat Greene to death. His death was originally reported to be the result of a single car crash with a tree. Greene’s demise was ruled accidental and caused by a heart attack. The Union Parish coroner’s report did not mention that Greene’s face and body showed signs of a struggle.

One year after Greene’s family questioned the coroner’s report, the LSP began an administrative investigation and the struggle came to light. Greene had been beaten, dragged and attacked with a stun gun. Only a few of the officers involved in the Greene case have been fired or disciplined for their actions that evening. 

Then LSP Superintendent Kevin Reeves resigned and was replaced by Col. Lamar Davis, a Black man. 

“We know that Col. Davis has gone in on the ground and instituted monumental change that we support, and he’s continuing to make changes every single day,” James explained. “But what we are learning from story after story of what happened with Troop F, what’s happening in the state police is much more than one man. It’s much more than he can do.”  

Since Greene’s treatment was uncovered the LSP have allegedly instituted a new policy on use of force and also created a “duty to intervene” policy. Neither policy has yet been shared with the public.   

If the DOJ agrees to step in, the LSP could be forced into a consent decree that would set up a formal process for ongoing federal review while also establishing new benchmarks on how officers could operate.

LLBC made the decision to contact DOJ after discovering the LSP’s leadership blocked an effort by LSP Detective Albert Paxton from arresting a trooper directly involved in Greene’s death.

State Representative Candace Newell voiced her support for the LLBC’s action. “I am in full support of the Black Caucus’ decision to contact the Department of Justice. We are going to have more State Police presence in New Orleans this summer. I want to ensure that residents and visitors to our city are safe from all possible interactions  that may be unjustifiable or wrong,” said Newell.



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