Justice Department opens probe into Louisiana State Police
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By Jim Mustian and Jake Bleiberg, AP News
The U.S. Justice Department is opening a sweeping civil rights investigation into the Louisiana State Police amid mounting evidence that the agency has a pattern of looking the other way in the face of beatings of mostly Black men, including the deadly 2019 arrest of Ronald Greene.
The federal “pattern-or-practice” probe announced Thursday followed an Associated Press investigation that found Greene’s arrest was among at least a dozen cases over the past decade in which state police troopers or their bosses ignored or concealed evidence of beatings, deflected blame and impeded efforts to root out misconduct. Dozens of current and former troopers said the beatings were countenanced by a culture of impunity, nepotism and, in some cases, outright racism.
“We find significant justification to open this investigation now. … We received information of the repeated use of excessive force, often against people suspected of minor traffic offenses, who are already handcuffed or are not resisting,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, who oversees the Justice Department’s civil rights division. She added there were also reports of troopers targeting Black residents in traffic enforcement and using “racial slurs and racially derogatory terms.”
The federal probe, the first such action against a statewide law enforcement agency in more than two decades, comes more than three years after white troopers were captured on long-withheld body-camera video beating, stunning and dragging Greene on a rural roadside near Monroe. Despite lengthy, ongoing federal and state criminal investigations into a death [that] troopers initially blamed on a car crash, no one has been charged.
Learn about more of the incidents that led to this investigation.
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