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AP: Trooper's mic records talk of beating, choking Black man

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Greene family

This undated photo provided by his family in September 2020 shows Ronald A. Greene. Greene's family filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit in May 2020 alleging Louisiana state 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. Officials originally said his injuries were caused by a car crash that ended a May 2019 police chase or an ensuing struggle with state troopers. (Family photo via AP)

In graphic, matter-of-fact chatter picked up on his body-camera mic, a Louisiana State trooper implicated in the death of a Black man can be heard talking of beating and choking him before “all of a sudden he just went limp.”

“I beat the ever-living f--- out of him,” the trooper said in a 27-second audio clip obtained by The Associated Press.

It is the most direct evidence to emerge yet in the death last year of Ronald Greene, which troopers initially blamed on injuries from a car crash at the end of a chase. The long-simmering case has now become the subject of a federal civil rights investigation and growing calls for authorities to release the full body-cam video.

Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth, who died last week in a single-car crash, is heard recounting the May 2019 arrest of Greene in rural north Louisiana on audio provided to the AP through an intermediary who asked not to be identified because the case remains under investigation. Its veracity was confirmed by two law enforcement officials familiar with the case who spoke on condition of anonymity. State Police did not dispute the tape’s authenticity.

“Choked him and everything else trying to get him under control,” Hollingsworth is heard saying, apparently in his part of a phone conversation with 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.”

“It is shocking that this evidence has been withheld for over a year,” said Lee Merritt, an attorney for Greene’s family. He called on state officials to immediately release the full footage.

Eugene Collins, president of the Baton Rouge branch of the NAACP, called Hollingsworth’s remarks “disgusting and morally bankrupt” and said the recording raised new questions about the actions of other law enforcement officials familiar with Greene’s death.