Louisiana governor denies he delayed probe in deadly arrest

Feb 1, 2022, 4:05 AM | Updated: 7:26 pm
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks about the investigation into the death of Ronald Greene in B...

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks about the investigation into the death of Ronald Greene in Baton Rouge, La., Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

(AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards defiantly denied Tuesday that he delayed or interfered with investigations into the deadly 2019 arrest of Ronald Greene — and for the first time he characterized the actions of the troopers seen on video stunning, punching and dragging the Black man as racist.

“I can’t imagine if Mr. Greene had been white he would have been treated that way,” an emotional Edwards told a news conference. “We have to acknowledge racism when we see it. We have to call it what it is.”

The Democratic governor rejected the idea that his response to the Greene case was driven by a tight reelection campaign that depended heavily on the Black vote. He said that notion is nonsensical because prosecutors had the Greene case well before his election.

“Nothing like that has ever happened because of me,” he said. “That is not who I am as a person.”

Edwards’ remarks were the first since an Associated Press report last week that showed he had been notified by state police within hours of Greene’s May 2019 death that troopers engaged in a “violent, lengthy struggle,” yet he kept quiet for two years as police told a much different story to the victim’s family and in official reports: that Greene died from a crash following a high-speed chase.

Edwards stayed mostly silent on the case until last May when the AP obtained and published long-withheld body camera video showing what really happened on a dark roadside near Monroe: white troopers jolting Greene with stun guns, punching him in the face and dragging him by his ankle shackles as he pleaded for mercy and wailed, “I’m your brother! I’m scared! I’m scared!”

The governor’s news conference came just minutes after a heated, closed-door meeting with the Legislative Black Caucus that at times erupted with members cursing over his muted response to Greene’s deadly arrest.

Some caucus members asked why Edwards did not speak out or follow up more forcefully when informed of the circumstances.

“A man died in custody. You don’t ask his name? You don’t ask what happened? You don’t get any facts?” one of the caucus members said, according to audio of the meeting obtained by the AP.

“This matter will not go away until there is an acknowledgement that there was a cover-up,” said another.

Edwards at one point said, “I am not going to tell you everything that has happened with the state police since I’ve been governor has been perfect.”

“They’re alleging that I have been personally involved in these things and I have not,” Edwards told the caucus.

In his news conference, the governor also denied the state House speaker’s contention that he sought to discourage a legislative inquiry into the case last year by blaming Greene’s death on a car wreck.

Edwards directly contradicted Rep. Clay Schexnayder’s account that Edwards told him just that in June and called his relationship with the powerful Republican House speaker “especially strained.”

Schexnayder told AP outside the House chamber Tuesday that “I stand by my comment.” Asked whether his relationship with Edwards is “strained” he said, “I don’t have any ill will toward the governor.”

Leaders of Louisiana’s GOP-led legislature have vowed to take action against Edwards over his handling of the Greene case. The drama is playing out amid a more than two-year-old federal civil rights investigation into the deadly encounter and whether police brass obstructed justice to protect the troopers who arrested Greene.

Edwards expressed private frustration with the amount of time it has taken federal authorities to file charges in Greene’s death.

“Are they ever going to come out and have a charge?” the governor asked during his meeting with the lawmakers, adding he believed the troopers’ treatment of Greene had been criminal “from the very first time I saw” footage of it in October 2020.

Edwards at times struck a dejected tone during the meeting, telling the lawmakers: “This is the worst. I can’t imagine a worse day in my life than today.”

“I apologize with the core of my soul that we haven’t made the progress over the last year that I hoped to have made and that I thought we were making with state police,” he said. “I am more disappointed in me than probably you are.”


Mustian reported from New York and Bleiberg from Dallas.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - A customer waits for service at a Optus phone store in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, Oct. 7, ...
Associated Press

Australian police probe purported hacker’s ransom demand

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australian police were investigating a report that a purported hacker had already released the stolen personal data of 10,000 Optus customers and was demanding a $1 million ransom in cryptocurrency, the telecommunications company’s chief executive said on Tuesday. The Australian government has blamed lax cybersecurity at the nation’s second-largest wireless carrier […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Foes of Arizona voucher expansion likely fail to make ballot

PHOENIX (AP) — A massive expansion of Arizona’s private school voucher system will likely go into effect after public school advocates failed to gather enough signatures to block the law, a conservative think tank that supports the expansion said Monday. The Goldwater Institute, a conservative and libertarian public policy think tank in Phoenix, said Save […]
19 hours ago
FILE - In this image from a video, Japan's former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes a campaign speech...
Associated Press

Japan holding state funeral for ex-leader Abe amid tensions

TOKYO (AP) — Japan is filled with tension, rather than sadness, on Tuesday as a rare state funeral for the assassinated former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, one of the most divisive leader, deeply splits the nation. Tokyo was under maximum security, with a large number of uniformed police mobilize around the Budokan hall, where the […]
19 hours ago
In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, a Coast Guard Cutter Kimball crew-member observes a...
Associated Press

Patrol spots Chinese, Russian naval ships off Alaska island

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A U.S. Coast Guard ship on routine patrol in the Bering Sea came across a guided missile cruiser from China, officials said Monday. But it turned out the cruiser wasn’t alone as it sailed about 86 miles (138 kilometers) north of Alaska’s Kiska Island, on Sept. 19. The patrol boat, known […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Appeals court blocks California ban on for-profit prisons

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A larger panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday again blocked California’s first-in-the-nation ban on for-profit private prisons and immigration detention facilities, finding that it is trumped by the federal government. A three-judge appellate panel last year rejected the 2019 state law that would have phased out […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Ex-Nigerian official gets 5 years for pandemic fraud in US

SEATTLE (AP) — A former Nigerian government official was sentenced Monday to five years in prison for stealing more than $500,000 in pandemic relief benefits in the United States. Abidemi Rufai was wearing a $10,000 watch and $35,000 gold chain when he was arrested at JFK International Airport in New York on his way to […]
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Louisiana governor denies he delayed probe in deadly arrest