by C.C. Campbell-Rock
The leaked bodycam footage of Louisiana state troopers murdering Ronald Greene reaffirms the need for systemic police reform at a time when the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act awaits passage in the U.S. Senate.
State police told Mona Hardin her son died upon impact when his car hit a tree after Greene allegedly refused to stop for an undisclosed traffic violation. They lied. Body-cam footage showed state troopers beating, tasing, kicking, and assaulting Greene near Monroe, Louisiana, in the early hours of May 10, 2019.
The video shows one trooper dragging Greene by his ankles while he was face down on the ground with his hands and ankles cuffed. Another bragged about how he beat the f—out of Greene, who died in police custody.
Local authorities didn’t charge the troopers for Greene’s death, but the U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation last fall. And the FBI is investigating.
“Greene’s death was ruled accidental and attributed to cardiac arrest,” said Renee Smith, the Union Parish Coroner. “Smith said her office’s file on Greene attributed his death to a car crash and made no mention of a struggle with State Police,” according to the AP.
Greene’s mother accused the state police of a cover-up. When asked what justice would look like for her son, Hardin said, “I want them to go to jail,” she said of those involved in her son’s death.
Just like in the countless cases of cops killing unarmed Black people, the family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
As usual, taxpayers will pay for the state troopers’ criminal behavior. The cops won’t because they have “qualified immunity,” a legal get-out-of-jail card that shields them from prosecution. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if cops aren’t accountable when they commit straight-up murder, they will keep killing. Greene’s killers were like the White lynch mob or the night riders of the 20th Century who hunted down and killed Black people.
Cops like them are part and parcel of the White domestic terrorism plaguing the U.S., although no one will say it.
Capitol Hill reporters predict the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act will be dead on arrival in the U.S. Senate. Their sources tell them that Senate Republicans will vote against the police reform bill that President Biden hoped would become law by March 25, the first anniversary of Floyd’s murder by convicted cop-killer Derek Chauvin.
The House passed the bill last March. Thirty-five of the 211 House Republicans voted with the Democrats.
According to news reports, qualified immunity, which shields individual police and elected officials from prosecution, is a deal-breaker for Republicans.
Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) is the only Black Republican on Capitol Hill. And he is on the bill’s negotiation team with Democratic Senator Cory Booker and Representative Karen Bass.
Scott offered to hold police departments accountable for police misconduct instead of individual police. Scott’s proposal doesn’t pass the smell test. Even if police departments are held liable, cops won’t be.
Republicans push Scott out to deny that their Party is racist when they oppose legislation that protects Black Americans’ constitutional rights.
They are against the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and the Anti-Lynching Bill.
Republicans claim to ‘back the blue’ by any means necessary. But they’re just paying lip service to cops to keep their votes. They don’t want to hold cops accountable for killing or committing acts of violence on Black and Brown people.
Ironically, they also don’t want to fund recommendations for securing the Capitol and protecting themselves. After all, the taxpayers will foot that bill too. They also are against protecting, expanding, and training the Capitol Police Force to be ready to put down events like the January 6 Insurrection.
Republicans’ resistance to secure the Capitol and protect all who work there, including themselves, comes down to partisan politics and racial hatred.
The Republicans refused to fund the security plan because Retired Lt. General Russel Honoré, a Black Louisianan, proposed the plan after investigating the January 6 Insurrection.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to investigate the January 6 Insurrection. Honore made national headlines for his adept leadership of the military response to Hurricane Katrina.
Republican Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, and Tucker Carlson all denounced Honoré. And they tried to remove him from the investigation.
Surely, Honoré rubbed Hawley and Cruz the wrong way when he tweeted in response to Law Professor Laurence Tribe’s suggestion to suspend Hawley from the Senate.
“That little piece of shit with his @Yale law degree should be run out of D.C. and Disbarred ASAP,” Russel tweeted about Hawley on Jan.11, before Pelosi invited him to investigate the Capitol’s security flaws.
This policy reform debate is really about the value of Black lives. White Republicans sympathetic to the Insurrectionists want to paint Black Lives Matter advocates as terrorists. White domestic terrorists, who support the former guy, attacked the Capitol Police and the Capitol. They intended to stop Congress from certifying a legitimate election that the one-term, twice impeached former Republican President Donald Trump lost.
Senate Democrats need sixty votes to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. It’s doubtful that Senate Democrats will get 10 Republicans to crossover. And Democrats can’t rely on Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kristen Sinema (D-AZ) to vote with their Party.
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Without qualified immunity, Republican Senators still won’t vote for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The bill calls for: misconduct investigations, an end to racial profiling, bans on chokeholds and no-knock warrants, eliminating traffic stops for minor offenses, and a database to track police misconduct so that abusive cops can’t go from one police department to another after being fired, among other policy reforms.
The video of George Floyd’s murder by Chauvin sparked worldwide protests last summer and a racial reckoning in the United States. If the Senate doesn’t pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, action still must be taken to stop police from killing unarmed Black and Brown people and making taxpayers foot the bill.
The Louisiana State Police’s budget is over $492 million. And over $2.5 billion in revenues (taxes, fees, fines, and federal funding). Louisiana state police earn $48,000 annually.
The Minnesota Police Department budget is $193 million. Minnesota police officers make $68,000 per year.
After the uproar over George Floyd’s murder, Minnesota didn’t wait for Congress to pass comprehensive policing reforms. Last December, the City Council shifted almost $8 million in police funding to expand other services, including violence prevention and mental health crisis response teams, according the NPR.
Hopefully, other police departments will follow Minnesota’s example. If not, perhaps the city, state, and federal funding can be tied to a merit-based payment system: If police leadership makes substantial progress in reforming their departments, they should receive total financing. If not, the city, state, and feds will reduce funding until they do.
Learn More: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JixjACYZfP0 State Trooper Superintendent Press Conference
https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/article_c0b76236-ba9c-11eb-842c-e792f270affb.html State Police Release Nine Videos of Ronald Greene’s death.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/09/us/louisiana-troopers-charged-false-arrests-excessive-force.html Four Louisiana Troopers Arrested – Troop F – The troop that rode down on Green
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPHYjoPaHJY Rachael Maddow’s Report on the Louisiana State Police in the death of Ronald Greene.
https://judiciary.house.gov/uploadedfiles/fact_sheet_justice_in_policing_act_of_2020.pdf?utm_campaign=2927-519 Fact Sheet: CBC Justice in Policing Act of 2020
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