U.S. launches civil rights probe into Louisiana State Police

June 9 (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department has opened a civil rights probe into the Louisiana State Police, department officials said on Thursday, more than three years after the deadly arrest of black motorist Ronald Greene in the state in 2019.

The so-called pattern-or-practice investigation is the latest federal probe into potential systematic patterns of abuse at police departments and jails across the country. The Justice Department has also launched probes into Georgia state prisons, Texas juvenile detention facilities and police departments in Minneapolis and Louisville, among others.

The department had already launched a separate probe into the case involving Greene, who died in May 2019 at age 49 while in Louisiana police custody.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division announced the probe along with other U.S. attorneys in Louisiana, saying it would focus on whether state police used excessive force and discriminatory conduct and was separate from other investigations.

Three years after Greene's death, and officials said the federal probe was necessary to rebuild community trust.

"Every American, regardless of race, has the right to constitutional policing," Clarke said in a statement.

Bodycam footage published by the Associated Press last year showed Louisiana state troopers punching, dragging and stunning Greene, whose family has also sued the police. read more

Two state police officers involved Greene's arrest were fired, according to CNN, and a separate Louisiana state police panel was investigating the unit involved, the AP reported last year.

Reporting by Susan Heavey and Nandita Bose; Editing by Tim Ahmann and David Gregorio

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