Jun 9, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Justice Department launches civil rights probe into Louisiana State Police

Family members of Ronald Greene listen to speakers as they gather at the Lincoln Memorial for the March on Washington August 28, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Family members of Ronald Greene listen to speakers as they gather at the Lincoln Memorial for the March on Washington August 28. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The Justice Department said Thursday that it opened a civil rights investigation into the Louisiana State Police amid reports that the department has unfairly targeted Black residents.

Driving the news: "This civil investigation will assess whether LSP uses excessive force and whether it engages in racially discriminatory policing," the Justice Department said.

  • The investigation will include a review of the police department's training, supervision and force investigations.
  • "Based on an extensive review of publicly available information provided to us we find significant justification to open this investigation now," Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Kristen Clarke said during a Thursday press conference.
  • "For example, we received information about the repeated use of excessive force often against people who are suspected of minor traffic offensives, are already handcuffed or are not resisting," she added.
  • Clarke also cited reports that "officers target Black residents in their traffic enforcement practices and in use of force."

The big picture: The probe comes more than three years after video footage obtained and released by AP showed Louisiana state troopers punching and dragging Ronald Greene, a Black man who died in police custody in 2019 after a high-speed chase.

  • An AP investigation found that there have been at least a dozen cases over the last decade in which Louisiana state troopers have withheld evidence of beatings or police misconduct.

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