State trooper kicked, dragged Black man who died in custody

New details about Louisiana man’s brutal arrest in 2019 contradict initial police accounts

A Louisiana State trooper has been suspended for 50 hours without pay after body camera footage showed him kicking and dragging a handcuffed Black man whose custody death in 2019 remains unexplained and the subject of a federal civil rights investigation.

Master Trooper Kory York dragged Ronald Greene “on his stomach by the leg shackles” following a violent arrest and high-speed chase, according to internal State Police records obtained by The Associated Press.

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The records are the first public acknowledgment by State Police that Greene was brutalized during the arrest and confirm accusations made last year by an attorney for Greene’s family who had seen the graphic body camera footage of the May 2019 arrest one year before the death of George Floyd.

The video shows troopers choking and beating the man, repeatedly jolting him with stun guns and dragging him facedown across the pavement during an arrest for an unspecified traffic violation, the attorney told the AP.

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However, authorities initially explained that Greene had crashed his vehicle into a tree following a high-speed chase in rural northern Louisiana. But that version of events was disproven after Greene’s family released graphic photographs last September that showed deep bruises and lacerations to the man’s face, and other photos showing his car with little damage.

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The agency has faced mounting pressure to release body camera footage and other records related to the case but has refused to do so, citing the ongoing internal investigation.

Before now, the department has only publicly said that Greene died “after resisting arrest and a struggle with troopers.”

York, who turned off his body camera on his way to the scene, is seen on other body cam footage yanking Greene’s shackles and repeatedly using profanity toward Greene before he died.

“You’re gonna lay on your f------ belly like I told you!” the trooper says at one point, according to the police records.

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York was suspended following an internal investigation that also led to the termination of another trooper, Chris Hollingsworth, who died in a single-car crash after learning he had been fired over his role in the incident.

Last year, The Associated Press 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.”

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“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. “This suspension is a start, but it does not come close to the full transparency and accountability the family continues to seek.”

Col. Lamar Davis, who took over as State Police superintendent last year, wrote York that his suspension had been decided by his predecessor, Kevin Reeves, adding he “would have imposed more severe discipline” had it been up to him. Reeves made the decision during his last week in office, before stepping down amid a series of scandals, but York was not notified of the reasons for his suspension until Dec. 29.

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York’s attorney did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

York told investigators he turned his own 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.

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The trooper who initially chased Greene, Dakota DeMoss, was recently arrested in connection with a separate police pursuit last year in which he and two other troopers allegedly used excessive force while handcuffing a motorist. Those charges followed a monthslong internal investigation into use-of-force incidents involving troopers in the northern part of the state.

It’s not clear whether DeMoss has been disciplined in Greene’s arrest.

Information provided by The Associated Press was used to compile this report.

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