Judge Allows Negligent Homicide Charge to Proceed in Ronald Greene Case

Judge Allows Negligent Homicide Charge to Proceed in Ronald Greene Case

A judge in Farmerville, Louisiana, ruled on Monday that the most severe charge of negligent homicide can proceed against a white state trooper involved in the deadly 2019 arrest of Ronald Greene, a Black motorist. The judge’s decision comes after body-camera footage showed the trooper dragging Greene by his ankle shackles and forcing him to lie facedown in the dirt. The case had faced uncertainty after obstruction charges against two other troopers were dismissed, leaving three officers still facing charges.

The defense attorney for Master Trooper Kory York, J. Michael Small, plans to appeal the ruling. York had sought dismissal of the negligent homicide and malfeasance charges against him, citing a blunder by prosecutors who allowed a use-of-force expert to review statements York made during an internal affairs inquiry. However, the judge ruled that the prosecutors’ mistake did not taint York’s indictment, as the expert drew his conclusions from the body-camera footage.

The body-camera video, obtained and published by the Associated Press, showed white troopers converging on Greene before he could exit his car. As Greene pleaded and writhed in the dirt, one trooper ordered him to lie facedown and struck him in the head. Another trooper later boasted about beating Greene. The trooper considered most culpable, Chris Hollingsworth, died in a car crash in 2020, hours after being informed he would be fired for his role in Greene’s arrest.

The ruling by Judge Thomas Rogers is seen as a victory for the state prosecution, led by District Attorney John Belton and Special Prosecutor Hugo Holland. The charges of negligent homicide and malfeasance in office against York were crucial, as dismissing them would have prevented prosecutors from seeking a new indictment under Louisiana’s statute of limitations.

The case has also prompted calls for the U.S. Justice Department to bring its own indictment against the troopers. Federal prosecutors have been considering civil rights charges for years, investigating whether Louisiana State Police brass obstructed justice by protecting the troopers involved in Greene’s arrest.

In addition to York, two other officers still face charges in the case. Lt. John Clary, the ranking officer during Greene’s arrest, is accused of withholding his body-camera footage from investigators and faces an obstruction of justice charge. Chris Harpin, a former Union Parish deputy sheriff, is charged with two counts of malfeasance for taunting Greene before he stopped breathing.

Author: CrimeDoor

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