BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Louisiana State Police were once again in the hot seat at the State Capitol. State senators on the Senate Select Committee on State Police Oversight scrutinized LSP Monday at the second committee meeting investigating the agency.
One investigator talked about how some troopers may not turn over their body cam footage right away as well as some potentially damaging information.
Officers claimed Greene had died due to injuries in a car crash. Body cam video released over a year later shows officers repeatedly beating Greene before he died.
The mother of Ronald Greene, the man who died in 2019 after an encounter with State Police, testified.
“I brought him to this earth, and I saw the state of Louisiana take him out,” said Mona Hardin, Greene’s mother.
She said it was hard for her to sit and watch the committee probe the police for more information around practices that may have made it easier to allegedly cover up her son’s death. She begged the senators to hold officers accountable who have a hand in his death and the alleged cover-up.
Senators were frustrated after people they requested to testify from the agency didn’t show.
Col. Lamar Davis, the LSP Superintendent, said he told them they were not subpoenaed and weren’t required to come.
“As Colonel I would think that you would say if the Senate calls you, you should show up,” Sen. Cleo Fields said.
By the end of the committee the lawyers representing the current and former officers wrote statements saying their clients would not testify due to ongoing investigations.
One Sgt. did come. Albert Paxton is an investigator who offers advice on use of force cases — such as the Ronald Greene case. He takes bodycam video from incidents and it helps him investigate if the force was justified.
“Have there been times when officers hadn’t turned their body cams into you?” Sen. Katrina Jackson asked Paxton.
“Yes ma’am… in my experience they were not turned in because they knew we didn’t have access to it so they could hide it from us,” Sgt. Albert Paxton said.
He also said that in 2019, his recommendations around use of force were ignored by his “entire chain of command.” Paxton was given a letter of reprimand for sharing reports with his wife, which was encouraged by a superior.
“I said I’m being investigated because I won’t participate in the cover-up, I won’t hide evidence and I won’t lie,” Sgt. Paxton said.
Sen. Jackson raised concern that Major Jason Turner is on the Force Investigation Unit. He was part of the Ronald Greene case in some capacity. She said that promotions shouldn’t be happening when a case has yet to be closed. Col. Davis said if he didn’t promote people with cases being scrutinized, they wouldn’t have very many promotions.
The State Police said they have changed policies and are working towards more transparency. The investigation into the agency is ongoing but there is no set date of when the next Senate Select Committee will take place, but will be in the new year.