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Louisiana State Police headquarters, Wednesday, November 14, 2018 in Baton Rouge, La.

The embattled Louisiana State Police named a new second-in-command days after the agency's previous number two announced his retirement amid an internal probe into whether he played a role in the wiping of his work cellphone.

Lt. Col. Chavez Cammon has been named the agency's new assistant superintendent and assistant chief of staff, State Police spokesperson Melissa Matey said Monday. Cammon succeeds Lt. Col. Doug Cain, the last of three senior State Police officials to depart the agency as investigators scrutinize the wiping of their phones in the months after Ronald Greene's brutal 2019 death in custody.

Cain said last week he's retiring from State Police.

Cammon previously headed State Police's Internal Affairs section and most recently was a deputy superintendent of patrol, State Police Superintendent Col. Lamar Davis said. Cammon started his State Police career in 1999 in Kenner and went on to work on the agency's recruiting, emergency management, COVID-19 response and other areas, according to a biography provided by State Police.

"LTC Cammon has demonstrated the love for our State, passion for our citizens and employees and commitment to our mission of Public Safety," Davis said in an agency message.

When Greene died in May of 2019, Cammon was leading the internal affairs division. The sprawling controversy that ensued from that incident included two allegations from lawmakers and whistleblowers about his predecessor, Cain: First, that Cain discouraged criminal charges against troopers; and second, that he participated in the cleansing of his phone and those belonging to two other ranking officers.

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Greene's family says State Police initially told them he'd died from the impact of a car crash outside Monroe after a high-speed chase.

Leaked body camera videos later showed troopers had in fact beaten him, stun-gunned him and dragged him by his shackled ankles. His fatal arrest was among several violent encounters with Black motorists by members of Troop F, a predominantly White unit patrolling a swath of territory in northeast Louisiana.

Cammon faced questions in April from a legislative committee probing Greene's death about what he knew and when as internal affairs chief. Lawmakers focused on his knowledge of a particularly graphic piece of body camera footage, from the camera of Lt. John Clary, which prosecutors and criminal investigators say they didn't receive for nearly two years after Greene died.

Cammon told lawmakers he didn't learn of that video's existence until leaving internal affairs. And he apologized to Greene's family, saying he agreed with a use-of-force expert's earlier testimony that Greene's death amounted to "torture and murder."

"I cannot even imagine the pain the Greene family is feeling," he said.

Greene's death and its aftermath served as a major catalyst for a new "patterns-or-practice" civil rights probe by the DOJ of troopers’ use of excessive force and claims of racially biased policing. The feds and local prosecutors are also weighing criminal charges for troopers involved in the incident.


Email James Finn at JFinn@theadvocate.com or follow him on Twitter, @RJamesFinn.