Jim Mustian and Jake Bleiberg broke news that likely would never have happened had it not been for their more than two years of dogged, consistently groundbreaking reporting: Five Louisiana law officers were indicted on state charges ranging from negligent homicide to malfeasance in the deadly 2019 arrest of Black motorist Ronald Greene.
Greene’s death along a backroad in rural northeast Louisiana was initially blamed by authorities on a car crash at the end of a high speed and the case got little attention until The Associated Press started investigating.
Mustian was first to report the many questions and secrecy surrounding Greene’s death. He blew the case wide open last year when he obtained and published long-suppressed body-camera video that showed what really happened: White troopers swarming Greene’s car, stunning him repeatedly, punching him in the head, and dragging him by the shackles as he pleaded for mercy. After he was left shackled and face-down on the ground for more than nine minutes, the heavyset, blood-soaked Greene suddenly goes silent and limp.
That bombshell jump-started long-dormant state and federal investigations and was followed by a series of scoops by Mustian and law enforcement reporter Bleiberg that kept the case in the spotlight.
But until last week, more than three-and-a-half years after Greene’s death, none of the officers involved in his arrest had been criminally charged.
That all changed early Thursday evening when a racially mixed Union Parish grand jury returned with indictments against the officers who were involved. Competitors also cited the AP in their stories.