Community marches for man who died during arrest

16 May, 2018, 08:22 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Autopsy reveals black man, 22, who died after a struggle with police was suffocated

On Thursday, May 10, Keeven Robinson got involved in a tussle with four Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, police officers - all of whom were white - following a auto chase that began because Robinson was a suspect in a narcotics investigation.

Bruising on Keeven Robinson's neck suggests someone compressed his neck prior to his death of asphyxiation, prompting Jefferson Parish coroner Gerry Cvitanovich to rule the death a homicide.

Robinson died last Thursday while in the custody of undercover narcotics agents in Jefferson Parish following a chase, according to Sheriff Joe Lopinto. The initial coroner's finding does not force legal action, but Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said he had moved four detectives to desk duty and had each man formally Mirandized and interviewed with Louisiana State Police representatives present. Following a struggle, he was taken into custody, where he later died, HuffPost reports.

"From a policy standpoint, we don't train somebody to hit someone with a brick", Sheriff Lopinto said. They said they feared the officers had either beaten or strangled him to death. It's hard. I know the mother real well.

"This family needs, deserves and wants answers as to what happened to Keeven", the family's attorney Hester Hilliard said a vigil outside Robinson's home.

"I understand that this investigation will be under a microscope", Lopinto said. He said he asked state police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to join the probe to ensure there's an independent body involved. Whether detectives will be charged in connection with Robinson's death has yet to be determined.

"Today is just as hard as Thursday for this family", Hilliard said. "But if you're fighting for your life and a brick's there, you hit someone with a brick".

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Local activists and reporters on Monday questioned why the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office has declined to use body cameras on deputies.

He said they have each been read their rights and are cooperating in an investigation that involves Lopinto's office, state police and the FBI.

After a "brief struggle" with him, detectives handcuffed Robinson.

"You got somebody in 'cuffs, take them to jail", Robinson's father, Steven Jackson, told the Times-Picayune.

Robinson, left, had reportedly been the target of an undercover drug investigation and was suspected of dealing narcotics, according to police. "We're not prepared to discuss that at this point", said Cvitanovich.

She said the organization was supporting Robinson's family and keeping an eye on the case, mindful of numerous deaths of black people at the hands of law enforcement officers.

When asked for her reaction to the autopsy results, the 61-year-old grandmother said she was not surprised.

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