Bowman, Greene attorneys accuse Gov. Edwards of not ‘taking police brutality seriously’

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 6:38 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Attorneys for alleged police brutality victims are calling on Governor John Bel Edwards to institute more meaningful changes to Louisiana State Police.

Attorneys Donecia Banks-Miley and Lee Merritt held a press conference outside of federal court in Monroe on Wednesday shortly after former state trooper Jacob Brown was arraigned on charges of deprivation of rights under color of law.

Banks-Miley represents Aaron Bowman, a Black motorist who was struck by Brown 18 times in the head with a flashlight in 2019 in Monroe. Merritt represents the family of Ronald Greene, who died in police custody in Union Parish in 2019.

“There has not been true change,” said Banks-Miley. “We are not going to be satisfied with one piece of the puzzle. We want justice for everybody involved.”

Edwards told KNOE when he was in Monroe on Oct. 12, some changes have been made, but more are needed.

“There has been an awful lot of changes made, and obviously, we have got a long ways to go to restore trust and confidence in the people who are served by State Police,” said Edwards.

He added that the state has brought in an outside agency to look at the agency’s procedures and recommend best practices going forward.

“We are going to continue to be transparent and continue to be responsive because we want people to have confidence in the State Police regardless of who they are, what they look like, where they live, and so forth,” said Governor Edwards.

Merritt believes that Edwards hasn’t done enough and went as far as saying, “He isn’t taking police brutality seriously.”

Merritt added, “We don’t want another meeting with Gov. Edwards. We don’t want another rational explanation. We want specific actions designed to deal with the readily identifiable problems with the Louisiana State Police Department.”

The Governor’s Office refuted Merritt’s accusation by saying in a statement to KNOE, “Col. Lamar Davis, the head of Louisiana State Police is working each and every day to implement reforms, improve training and make sure that troopers hold each other accountable and uphold the high professional standards that he and the Governor have for Louisiana law enforcement.”

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