(NEW YORK) — More than three years after her son Ronald Greene, an unarmed Black man, died in police custody, Mona Hardin said she still struggles to talk about him in the past tense.
But now her family is one step closer to getting justice after a grand jury charged five law enforcement officers Thursday for Greene’s death.
“Ronnie has been with us. I felt my son, I felt his presence. I felt him today,” Hardin said in an interview with ABC affiliate WBRZ-TV after the indictments were announced.
Those implicated in the grand jury decision are Troopers John Clary, Dakota Demoss and Kory York; Union Parish Deputy Chris Harpin; and former Troop F Commander John Peters.
York faces one charge of negligent homicide and 10 counts of malfeasance. Harpin faces three counts of malfeasance while Clary faces one count of malfeasance and one count of obstruction of justice. Both Demoss and Peters face one count of obstruction of justice.
York’s attorney declined ABC News’ request for comment. Attorneys representing the other officers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Greene died in May 2019 after a struggle with Louisiana State Police officers following a high-speed chase near Monroe where Greene failed to stop for a traffic violation.
The initial police report said Greene died due to a car crash. But in May 2021, two years after Greene’s death, Louisiana State Police released hours of body camera video that showed a violent struggle between Greene and police. State troopers are seen punching and using a stun gun on Greene after he crashed his car following a pursuit in northern Louisiana on May 10, 2019.
An autopsy report by the Union Parish Coroner’s Office found blunt force injury to Greene’s head, neck and torso. The cause of death was listed as “cocaine-induced agitated delirium complicated by motor vehicle collision, physical struggle, inflicted head injury and restraint.”
Greene’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the troopers involved in the incident, as well as their supervisors.
The Louisiana State Police launched an investigation into the case in August 2020, resulting in the firing of one officer and the suspension of another. A third was reprimanded for his involvement in the incident. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are investigating the case.
After the indictments Thursday, Louisiana State Police said troopers York and Clary — the only officers still working at LSP — were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal investigation.
“Today’s indictments followed a thorough and extensive investigation by state and federal agencies,” Col. Lamar Davis said in a statement. “Any instance of excessive force jeopardizes public safety and is a danger to our communities. These actions are inexcusable and have no place in professional public safety services.”
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