The re-examined autopsy is part of a federal civil rights investigation that has taken on new urgency in the nearly two months since The Associated Press obtained and published the video of Greene’s arrest. Federal prosecutors also met with his family last month and made clear they plan to present the case to a grand jury by the summer’s end.
“They wanted to emphasize to the family that they’re serious this time,” said the family’s attorney, Lee Merritt. “Their new enthusiasm is based on the public pressure that’s come from the release of the videos.”
Several people familiar with the case told the AP that the FBI recently asked Dr. Frank J. Peretti, who conducted the initial autopsy, to take another look that takes into account a raft of evidence the Louisiana State Police refused to provide the first time, including the troopers’ body camera footage and even the most basic police reports. His review in the coming days, which will focus on the supporting evidence and not require another exam of Greene’s long-buried body, could result in a revised autopsy report.
“No cause of death is carved in stone,” Peretti told the AP. “Sometimes additional investigative materials become available years later that you didn’t have. The correct thing to do is to review it.”
Capt. Nick Manale, a state police spokesman, said in a statement that the agency has offered “full cooperation” to the federal investigation and “provided all necessary documents.” He did not answer a question about why some materials were withheld from the initial autopsy.
John Belton, the Union Parish district attorney, referred the case to federal authorities in September 2019, telling colleagues he was aghast at the body camera footage. But more than five months passed before the FBI’s satellite office in Monroe even collected the case file, according to law enforcement officials familiar with the matter.
The FBI in recent weeks has focused on the question of whether troopers willfully mistreated Greene, seeking to determine, among other things, whether he was pepper-sprayed after being handcuffed. A use-of-force report authored by Hollingsworth includes a reference to the pepper-spray, but it’s unclear from the body camera video exactly when the chemical was deployed.
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