In an audio clip obtained by The Associated Press on Oct. 1 from an unidentified intermediary, a Louisiana State trooper talks about beating and choking a Black man who died following a vehicle pursuit in 2019.
In the 27-second clip, Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth said he had “beat the ever-living f—” out of Ronald Greene, who troopers said died after he crashed his vehicle at the end of a chase in May 2019. Greene’s death is being investigated as a federal civil rights case.
Two law enforcement officials who wish to remain anonymous, confirmed the authenticity of the clip.
“Choked him and everything else trying to get him under control,” Hollingsworth said over the phone to a colleague.
“We finally got him in handcuffs when a third man got there, and the son of a b—– was still fighting him, was still wrestling with him trying to hold him down,” he said. “He was spitting blood everywhere and all of a sudden he just went limp.”
Hollingsworth was placed on administrative leave following an internal investigation that was opened in August, more than a year after the fatal encounter. He died last week in a single-car crash just hours after finding out he would be fired for his involvement in the incident.
State police have not commented on whether Hollingsworth violated use-of-force policies.
On the day of Greene’s death on May 10, troopers attempted to pull the 49-year-old over after a traffic violation near the University of Louisiana at Monroe, but Greene did not stop, and the chase that followed lasted between 20 and 25 miles.
Greene allegedly drove off the road and into a ditch before striking a mailbox. The SUV later “struck a shrub/tree next to a private drive,” according to the police report.
The report stated that Greene was not wearing a seatbelt and made no mention of use-of-force by troopers. Later, officials said a “struggle” occurred. The report did not mention if Greene was arrested.
Greene was unresponsive when EMS arrived and died on the way to the hospital.
His family challenged the idea that his death resulted from a car crash. An image of the SUV shows only minor damage to the vehicle.
“We were told that he died in a high-speed chase of head injuries after crashing into a tree,” Greene’s mother, Mona Hardin, told the AP. “There was no major damage to the car.”
The family’s wrongful-death lawsuit quotes an emergency room doctor who said law enforcement told him Greene had been “involved in a fight.” The suit also claims Greene was beaten, shocked multiple times with a stun gun and “brutalized.”
Post-mortem photos released by the family in September show Green’s face and scalp covered in bruises and deep cuts.
Greene’s official cause of death as determined by the coroner’s office is cardiac arrest. His death was ruled accidental.
He was not wanted on any charges at the time of the chase.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said the full footage of the encounter will be made public after federal and state investigations have been completed.