Wednesday, December 8

Unearthed Videos Show Pattern of Violence by Louisiana State Police | Louisiana


In long-buried video, white Louisiana state cops can be seen slamming a black man into a police vehicle after finding marijuana in his car, throwing him to the ground, and repeatedly hitting him, all while handcuffed.

In another, a white policeman hits a black man at a traffic stop 18 times with a flashlight, leaving him with a broken jaw, broken ribs and a cut on the head. That footage was mislabeled and took 536 days and a lawsuit for police to investigate.

And another video shows a white police officer coldly beating a Hispanic drug trafficking suspect as he calmly stood by the roadside, an unprovoked attack never mentioned in any report and only investigated when the footage was discovered by a federal judge. indignant.

As Louisiana State Police reeling from the fallout from the fatal arrest of Ronald Greene in 2019, a case opened this year over a long-held video of police officers stunning, beating and dragging the black motorist, an Associated Press investigation has revealed to be part of a secret pattern of violence.

An AP review of internal investigation records and recently obtained videos identified at least a dozen cases over the past decade in which Louisiana State Police or their bosses ignored or concealed evidence of beatings, deflected blame, and impeded efforts. to eradicate misconduct.

The AP review, which came amid a growing federal investigation into misconduct by state police, found that officers have become accustomed to turning off or silencing body cameras during chases. When images are recorded, the agency routinely refuses to release them. And a recently retired supervisor who oversaw a particularly violent clique of police officers told internal investigators this year that it was his “common practice” to seal off officers’ use of force reports without reviewing body camera video.

In some cases, police officers omitted uses of force, such as blows to the head, from official reports, and in others, police officers attempted to justify their actions by falsely claiming that the suspects were violent, resisting, or escaping.

Most of those hit in the cases the AP found were black, according to the agency’s own tally that 67% of its uses of force in recent years have targeted black people, double the percentage of the state’s black population.

The revelations come as black leaders and civil rights urge America. Department of Justice to launch a broader investigation of “patterns and practices” into possible systemic racial discrimination by predominantly white state police.

State Police Superintendent Colonel Lamar Davis said in a statement that the agency has completely overhauled its excessive force policies and practices and has implemented numerous reforms in the 11 months since he took office.

Davis said he did not believe a federal pattern and practical investigation were needed “at this time.” The justice department did not answer questions about whether it was considering one.

State police have been under intense scrutiny since May, when the AP released unreleased May 10, 2019 body camera footage of Greene, arrested at the end of a high-speed chase near Monroe. It showed the stunned white soldiers, beating and dragging Greene as he pleaded for mercy. It was a jarring spate of footage in a death that officers initially attributed to a car accident and which took 474 days to launch an internal investigation.

Recently, a federal investigation into Greene’s death was expanded to include obstruction of justice allegations involving state police. Among the incidents now under scrutiny is the closure of a secret state police panel created to investigate possible systemic abuse of black drivers.

The panel had focused on reviewing thousands of hours of body camera images of a dozen specific soldiers in North Louisiana’s F Troop. But according to several people familiar with the matter who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity, the panel was abruptly disbanded. in July, after a few months of work following the leaks about its existence. State police did not immediately act on the panel’s recommendations, but Davis said the agency had referred some of the troublesome incidents to internal investigators.


www.theguardian.com

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