Louisiana State Police chief retires amid scandals

Agency draws scrutiny after Black man’s death in troopers’ custody

Gov. John Bel Edwards announces his appointment of Col. Kevin Reeves as the superintendent of Louisiana State Police, June 13, 2017 (Image via Gov. Edwards' Twitter feed).

The head of Louisiana State Police, Superintendent Col. Kevin Reeves, will retire at the end of this week. The 30-year veteran will leave an agency that has been embroiled in scandals for several years. 

The governor said he plans to name Reeves’ successor in the coming days.

The announcement comes on the heels of revelations that a Black man died while he was in state police custody in 2019 and allegations of a law enforcement cover up. The death of Ronald Green has sparked protest and calls for change in state police management as well as a federal investigation, according to the Associated Press

Troopers initially told Greene’s family that he died on impact when his vehicle crashed during a pursuit outside Monroe. But a civil rights attorney for Greene’s family says body camera footage taken at the scene shows Greene was choked, beaten and repeatedly shocked by troopers following the crash. State police have refused to comment publicly on the incident. 

The Associated Press also says it has heard a 27-second audio clip from a responding trooper’s body camera at the scene in which a trooper is heard telling a colleague, “I beat the ever-living f— out of him” — presumably referring to Greene. 

Gov. Edwards met with Greene’s family this month and allowed them to watch footage of the incident. 

Edwards said he did not ask Reeves to step down because of Greene’s death and noted that the colonel has been planning his retirement since last year.

However, Ronald Haley, an attorney representing the family, believes the timing is not a coincidence.

“I think it’s connected with not just Ronald Greene but all the controversies in the state police since he has taken the helm,” Haley said, referring to Reeves.

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Wesley Muller
Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the following 22 years since then, he has worked as a journalist for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. Much of his work has involved reporting on First Amendment issues and watchdog coverage of municipal and state government. He has received several honors and recognitions, including McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association, among others. Muller is a New Orleans native, a Jesuit High School alumnus, a University of New Orleans alumnus, a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper, and an adjunct English teacher at Baton Rouge Community College. He lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, with his teenage son and his wife, who is also a journalist.