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Louisiana law enforcement officers have been charged in Ronald Greene's death

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

Yesterday, a Louisiana grand jury brought criminal charges against five officers in a case involving a Black man who died in police custody in 2019. And the charges come more than a year after bodycam footage of the arrest surfaced. It showed the state troopers engaged in a brutal beating. Paul Braun of member station WRKF reports from Baton Rouge, La.

PAUL BRAUN, BYLINE: The official explanation for her son's death, injuries in a car crash, was never believable to Mona Hardin. Though she was pleased that the actual brutal circumstances in which he died are now clear, Hardin says the indictments the grand jury handed down on Thursday don't go far enough.

MONA HARDIN: There needs to be substantial time for a cop who murders while in uniform because if not, you're condoning the killing of Ronald Greene. You're OK with my son being murdered if you just give a slap on the wrist.

BRAUN: Trooper Kory York faces the most serious charges, negligent homicide and 10 counts of malfeasance in office, for his role in the deadly beating.

ALANAH ODOMS: No, it's woefully insufficient. The entire world had the opportunity to see a brutal killing on tape and to hear...

BRAUN: That's Alanah Odoms of the ACLU of Louisiana. The four other officers face a number of lesser charges, including malfeasance and obstruction of justice.

ODOMS: You know, you really wonder what people could need, what more a juror or a grand juror could need to see in order to actually hold folks accountable for that kind of brutality.

BRAUN: Two troopers are still employed with the agency but on leave. This case is one of several that set off a larger investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. That agency is looking at the Louisiana State Police's broader discriminatory patterns around traffic stops and use of force. Greene's family is still pursuing a civil suit. Here's his mother, Mona Hardin.

HARDIN: All I can say is this is the beginning of a lot. We're not done. We're not done by a long shot.

BRAUN: Hardin says her son was cremated without her permission, and she's waiting until justice is served to properly lay him to rest.

For NPR News, I'm Paul Braun in Baton Rouge. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Paul Braun