The Justice Department is targeting the Louisiana State Police for a wide-ranging investigation into the force’s interactions with minorities.
Specifically, Assistant Attorney Gen. Kristen Clarke said at a Baton Rouge news conference that the agency will investigate whether state police “engage in discriminatory policing practice against Black people and other people of color.”
The Thursday announcement precedes a “pattern-or-practice” federal probe, which has long been called for by Black leaders in the state. Official police records show 67% of cases when force is used involve Blacks, who account for 33% of Louisiana’s population.
The investigation is the first initiated by the Justice Department against a state police agency in two decades. And while it’s easy to dismiss the process as yet another example of leftists’ anti-police agenda, one notable case hints otherwise.
Of particular focus is the 2019 death of motorist Ronald Greene that was captured on body-camera video. Critics claim the images were withheld to protect violent officers. No one has been charged in Greene’s death, which troopers initially blamed on a crash in which they said he hit a tree.
Body camera footage released 474 days after the incident showed Greene, who fled a traffic stop at speeds topping 115 mph, being stunned, hit, and dragged. The FBI took the unusual step of ordering a reexamination of the autopsy.
It along with other evidence showed the “minor” crash had nothing to do with Greene’s death.
Whether the investigation reveals a statewide pattern of abuse of power is another matter entirely. An AP investigation claimed to find a dozen cases over the past 10 years that involve ignored or hidden evidence of police misconduct in Louisiana.
The research showed incidents where troopers reported suspects were violently resisting or attempting to escape. Video evidence contradicted official statements in the cases, and this led to calls for a federal probe.
Simple math shows that’s just over one per year, and while police brutality is never ok, that’s not exactly a pattern of abuse. How many thousands of officer interactions with citizens of the state occur every single day?
If individuals are guilty of overzealous enforcement, it needs to be addressed. But if “defund the police” proved anything, it’s that the left is over eager to smear all officers for the misdeeds of a few. This must be avoided.