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Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office says he’ll take questions on Ronald Greene death

By: - January 31, 2022 3:40 pm
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Gov. John Bel Edwards (Wes Muller/Louisiana Illuminator).

Gov. John Bel Edwards will hold a press conference Tuesday afternoon to address questions regarding his knowledge of the death of Ronald Greene in state police custody.

The Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus has requested to meet with the governor about the incident after the Associated Press reported Friday that Edwards first learned of Greene’s death within hours of his May 2019 arrest via text message from then-state police Superintendent Col. Kevin Reeves. 

In a statement Monday afternoon, the governor’s office said that text message informed Edwards of the death of an unnamed individual. It was not until September 2020 when Edwards first learned of the “serious allegations against Louisiana State Police surrounding the arrest and death of Mr. Ronald Greene,” the statement said.

The governor’s office provided the text message to the AP and included it in the email sent to news outlets Monday. 

The entire statement reads as follows:

“The Governor first learned of the serious allegations against Louisiana State Police surrounding the arrest and death of Mr. Ronald Greene in September 2020. He had previously been notified of the arrest and death of an unnamed individual in May of 2019 by then LSP Superintendent Col. Kevin Reeves. That text message was provided to the Associated Press by the Governor’s office and is attached to this email.

“It is standard practice for the head of LSP to notify the Governor of incidents where a person dies in custody. He did not see, nor was he aware of, the videos of the arrest until much later in October of 2020. From the moment the Governor learned of the allegations and saw the videos, he has consistently said that the actions of the officers in the videos were disturbing and unacceptable and that the matter should be fully investigated by federal and state authorities.

 “Neither the Governor nor anyone on the Governor’s staff has ever intervened or interfered in any criminal investigation, including the investigation into Mr. Greene’s death. 

“The Legislative Black Caucus has requested to meet with the Governor about the serious allegations in the Associated Press article and that meeting will take place tomorrow afternoon. He will speak to and take questions from the media after that meeting.”

Rep. Vincent Pierre, D-Lafayette, chairman elect of the Black Caucus, issued the following statement Monday afternoon with regards to the investigation into Ronald Greene’s death:

“Since the beginning, the members of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus have called for transparency and accountability within this case, and we are still committed to finding out the truth. Fighting systematic issues within our criminal justice system has long been a goal for our members, and we’ll continue serving as a voice for those who face injustices within our communities.
“We have called a meeting with Governor Edwards to discuss any possible new findings in the case and to form a consensus on how to move forward in our mission of obtaining justice for the family of Mr. Greene.”

Details on the press conference are expected from the governor’s office later Monday.

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Wesley Muller
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 years since then, he has freelanced for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and worked on staff at the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. He also taught English as an adjunct instructor at Baton Rouge Community College. Much of his journalism has involved reporting on First Amendment issues and coverage of municipal and state government. He has received 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 and a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper. He lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, with his two sons and his wife, who is also a journalist.

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