Ronald Green protest-1

Protestors gather at the entrance to Louisiana State Police Headquarters to demand accountability for Ronald Greene's death.

A small group of protesters marched through Louisiana State Police Headquarters on Wednesday evening seeking accountability in the alleged beating death of a Black suspect during a confrontation with troopers.

Ronald Greene died last year in State Police custody. Troopers initially blamed his death on injuries sustained during a crash following a police chase in Monroe, but his family has disputed that account in a civil suit alleging Greene was beaten to death. Federal investigators have opened a civil rights probe.

Roughly 20 activists entered the gates to the headquarters located on Independence Blvd., though lead organizers later said police told them not to enter and threatened them with detainment.

The demonstration was led by Lafayette activist group The Village 337.  Organizers said they wanted the full body-cam videos from the troopers at the scene of Greene's death to be released to the public. Greene's family was granted access to the footage last week.

Press were not allowed past the gates of the Department of Public Safety complex. Around 10 police units were stationed along the entrance and exit to the complex, lights flashing.

A livestream for a Baton Rouge protest group showed organizers outside different buildings of the compound, peacefully chanting slogans and singing. 

An hour after they entered, organizers emerged onto the main road leading out of the complex, arms linked, shouting, "No justice, no peace! No racist police!" 

Jamal Taylor, one of the organizers, said the group wants accountability.

"One of the key components of this is making sure there’s accountability for people at all levels," he said. "I think for 17 months, Col. Reeves and his department covered up the murder of Ronald Greene.”

State Police Superintendent Col. Kevin Reeves was appointed to head the agency in 2017 after his predecessor Col. Mike Edmonson abruptly stepped down amid allegations he was abusing his power.

A state police spokesperson was not immediately prepared to comment on the night's events.

Taylor added that accountability should reach all the way to the governor and that change must happen in the legislature to prevent further deaths, such as mandating body-cam footage be released soon after every death in police custody. 

"We need some accountability from the government," he said. "Otherwise people will continue to get murdered and it will continue to be covered up." 

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