The mother of Ronald Greene, the Black motorist who died in Louisiana State Police custody after white troopers beat him during a traffic stop, will attend President Joe Biden's State of the Union address. Mona Hardin is the invitee of Congressman Troy Carter, D-New Orleans, whose office confirmed Hardin will be in the gallery of the U.S. House of Representatives for Tuesday night's speech.
The Congressional Black Caucus and others have pushed Biden to make accountability for police brutality a focal point of his administration and the State of the Union address. The issue is once again at the forefront of national discussion following the Jan. 7 death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of law enforcement in Memphis, Tennessee. Within days of the incident, five officers were fired from the Memphis Police Department and charged with second-degree murder. A sixth officer has since been fired but not yet charged in Nichols' death.
Greene, 49, died May 10, 2019, after a Louisiana State Police pursuit ended near Monroe. Video footage from troopers' body-worn cameras showed Greene being dragged, kicked and punched while he was restrained on the roadside. Police originally attributed Greene's death to his car crashing into a tree, but forensic examinations would later refute that claim.
State Police also delayed the release of video footage that revealed Greene's harsh beating. Their internal investigation didn't begin until May 2020 - nearly a year later - when Greene's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against State Police.
It wasn't until December 2022 - more than three years later - that five troopers involved were indicted in connection with Greene's death. They have been charged with negligent homicide, malfeasance and obstruction of justice.
Hardin, who lives in Orlando, Florida, has appeared multiple times before a Louisiana legislative committee investigating allegations of a State Police cover-up in Greene's death.
"This is murder. This is murder, and it's condoned," Hardin told lawmakers at a November 2022 hearing. Gov. John Bel Edwards was scheduled to appear but did not because of a schedule conflict. It is not clear if the committee will meet again, although members have said they want to hear from the governor and at least one more administrator with State Police.
As recently as that November hearing, two of the troopers shown in the video beating Greene were still on active duty before they were criminally charged the next month.
The State of the Union address will take place at 8 p.m. CT Tuesday.
Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nevada, has invited Nichols' mother and stepfather to attend, Politico has reported. The White House has not yet announced who will sit with First Lady Jill Biden.
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This article originally appeared on Monroe News-Star: Ronald Greene's mother will attend State of the Union address