Trooper probed in Black man's death critically hurt in crash

By JIM MUSTIAN 22 September 2020, 12:00AM

A Louisiana state trooper under federal investigation for his role in the in-custody death of a Black man last year was critically injured early Monday in a single-vehicle crash.

Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth had been placed on paid leave Sept. 9 amid growing fallout — including state and federal investigations — from the May 2019 death of Ronald Greene following a high-speed chase near Monroe.

State Police had been considering disciplinary action against Hollingsworth but have repeatedly declined to release body-camera footage or other records of Greene's arrest.

The controversy deepened last week when Greene's family released graphic photographs showing deep bruises and cuts to his face that raised questions about whether Greene received those injuries in a car crash — as authorities initially told his family — or when troopers arrested him following the police pursuit.

Greene's family has filed a federal wrongful-death lawsuit alleging troopers “brutalized” Greene, used a stun gun on him three times and “left him beaten, bloodied and in cardiac arrest” before covering up his actual cause of death.

State Police have said only that the 49-year-old Greene died “after resisting arrest and a struggle with troopers” who took him into custody. The agency opened an internal investigation into the case last month.

Greene’s death also remains the subject of a civil rights investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department.

A crash report obtained by The Associated Press says Greene failed to stop for an unspecified traffic violation and later drove off the road and into a ditch, striking a mailbox, a culvert and a “shrub/tree.” The report does not mention any use of force by troopers.

Hollingsworth's attorney has declined to comment on the case.

Col. Kevin Reeves, the State Police superintendent, asked rank-and-file troopers to pray for Hollingsworth, who was listed in critical condition at Ochsner LSU Health in Shreveport.

Reeves wrote a note to troopers Monday, obtained by AP, saying Hollingsworth “was involved in a serious injury crash while off-duty in his personal vehicle.”

Other details about the crash were not immediately available. State Police referred questions to the Monroe Police Department, which did not respond to requests for comment.

Hollingsworth had been placed on leave the same day the AP filed a records request for body camera footage of Greene's arrest.

State Police brass had convened with the agency’s general counsel in Baton Rouge on Friday to discuss whether Hollingsworth had violated the agency's use-of-force policy, according to law enforcement officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.

By JIM MUSTIAN 22 September 2020, 12:00AM

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