Analysis | Reanimation of Greene tragedy, and timing, could have far-reaching consequences

Published: Feb. 7, 2022

By: Piper Hutchinson, LSU Manship School News Service

BATON ROUGE — After a text surfaced suggesting that Gov. John Bel Edwards knew more than he had acknowledged about the death of a black man in Louisiana State Police custody, what was going to be a tense redistricting session became more contentious.

Battle lines were already drawn between Republicans and Democrats over the balance of power in state legislative and congressional seats, and the controversy involving the governor added a new dimension to the fight

It also suddenly reversed the roles that Black lawmakers and Republican leaders had played after the death of Ronald Greene in a high-speed car chase in 2019, as if Louisiana politics had fallen through the looking glass.

A controversy over what Gov. John Bel Edwards knew about the Ronald Greene incident has added to the tensions at the Capitol over political redistricting.
A controversy over what Gov. John Bel Edwards knew about the Ronald Greene incident has added to the tensions at the Capitol over political redistricting. Piper Hutchinson/ LSU Manship School News Service

When videotapes were released last May showing that troopers had beaten Greene severely, raising questions about whether he died from their brutality rather than injuries in a car crash, Republicans were largely silent about what had happened to the 49-year-old Monroe man, and Democrats pushed vehemently for justice and accountability.

Now Republicans are out for the governor’s blood, claiming he misled the public about what he knew, and members of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, the largest group of Democrats in the Legislature, are parsing their words carefully, fearful of harming a long-time ally.

Black lawmakers and civil-rights groups know that the threat of an Edwards veto is one of the few levers they have to influence the redistricting process — and that anything that weakens Edwards right now benefits Republican efforts to shape the district maps to their advantage.

Read more at the Daily Advertiser

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