La. Inspector General to investigate why State Police erased cell phones of top brass
BATON ROUGE- Multiple sources confirmed Monday that the State Inspector General's office will take over the investigation into erased cell phones at State Police.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit exposed this year the number two, Lt. Colonel Doug Cain, had his phone erased amid a state and federal investigation into Ronald Greene's death. Cain was placed on leave Friday as the investigation continues.
Sources said Inspector General Stephen Street will likely start with Cain's phone first since he remains employed at State Police and branch out to the other top leaders who have since left the department. Colonel Kevin Reeves and his number two at the time, Mike Noel, also had their phones sanitized.
The phone sanitization has come under intense scrutiny by lawmakers tasked with investigating the circumstances of Ronald Greene's death. Greene led State Police on a high speed chase in May 2019. When he was pulled from his car, he was alive and apologizing. Body camera footage showed he was brutally beaten-- but State Police told his family he died from injuries he received in a crash.
"If we trusted you, we wouldn't be here right now," Rep. Tanner Magee told Cain last month.
Cain was called to testify, but refused to answer any questions of substance claiming the phone sanitization was under investigation prohibiting him from talking about it.
"The public has a right to know why you wiped your cell phone," Magee said.
Last week, District Attorney John Belton told lawmakers the feds withdrew their request for him to hold off on pursuing charges against State Troopers until they complete their investigation. It means he can now proceed with the state's investigation and possible state charges as the feds continue their investigation simultaneously. Belton said he intends to convene a special grand jury to look at the volumes of evidence that this case contains.
WBRZ reached out to Inspector General Stephen Street. He said over the phone he could not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.