On Wednesday, The Associated Press published a story containing police body-camera video clips from May 2019 of Louisiana State troopers beating a Black man, Ronald Greene, who then died from his injuries. Fox News has given no coverage to this major civil-rights story, MSNBC has covered it for nearly 40 minutes, and CNN has covered it for nearly three hours.
The incident has been the subject of controversy for two years over the issue of a police cover-up following the troopers’ high-speed chase. Initially, the police falsely told Greene’s family that he had died in a car accident. But an emergency room doctor wrote in his medical report that the officers’ story “does not add up” after two taser probes were found in Greene’s back, later writing in an addendum that the troopers changed their story to instead claim that Greene “had been involved in a fight and struggle with them.”
In its story about the obtained video — some of which was viewed last year by Greene’s family — the AP explains that Greene “can be seen appearing to raise his hands and saying over and over, ‘OK, OK. I’m sorry,’” whereupon he was tased through his driver’s side window. As he exited the car, the officers wrestled him to the ground, beating him, and kicked and dragged him even after he was handcuffed.
Instead of rendering aid, the troopers leave the heavyset man unattended, facedown and moaning for more than nine minutes, as they use sanitizer wipes to wash blood off their hands and faces.
Greene was subsequently pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital.
According to Media Matters’ internal database, CNN has spent over three hours covering the story after the AP published the video on Wednesday, while MSNBC has given the story nearly 40 minutes of coverage.
Fox News, by contrast, has not mentioned the Greene story even once on the air.
Throughout 2020, the network engaged in rampant demagoguery against the racial justice movement that sparked after the police murder of George Floyd, with the network’s hosts supporting both government crackdowns and blatant vigilantism against protesters. Fox hosts and guests have also compared the Black Lives Matter movement to terrorist organizations, decried the jury verdict this past April against former police officer Derek Chauvin for Floyd’s murder, and just this week the network published a false headline accusing the national BLM organization of endorsing Hamas.
Nearly half of MSNBC’s coverage about the Greene story was during an in-depth segment on The Rachel Maddow Show on Wednesday night. “You can’t really move on when you’ve seen something like this,” the host declared, as she laid out the story and later showed a graphic section of the video.
Maddow also spoke with the attorney for Greene’s family, Lee Merritt, who pointed to the “failures on every level of accountability — supervisors, district attorneys, prosecutors, who are supposed to look at this evidence, over the past two years.” Merritt also said that this behavior “has been allowed to continue to terrorize other members of the Louisiana community.”
CNN host Don Lemon also spoke Thursday night with Merritt and Greene’s mother, Mona Hardin.
Hardin and Merritt also appeared on CNN Friday morning, speaking to anchor Brianna Keilar on New Day.
In October 2020, AP obtained an audio recording from the body-camera microphone of Chris Hollingsworth, one of the officers involved in the incident, in which he discussed having “beat the ever-living f--- out of him,” referring to Greene. (Hollingsworth had died in late September in a single-car crash, hours after learning he was going to be fired for his role in Greene’s death.) From AP:
“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.”
Another officer, Dakota DeMoss, was later also found in an internal investigation to have boasted of the use of force against another Black driver who had already surrendered in May 2020. Another trooper, Kory York, received a 50-hour suspension for having kicked and dragged the handcuffed Greene “on his stomach by the leg shackles.”