May 21, 2018

Community marches for man who died during arrest

16 May 2018, 02:16 | Taylor George

Top News: Coroner: Suspect who died after police battle asphyxiated

Autopsy reveals black man, 22, who died after a struggle with police was suffocated

A black suspect who tussled with white deputies as they detained him in a suburb of New Orleans last week died of asphyxiation and there was evidence of pressure on his neck, a coroner said Monday.

Relatives of Keeven Robinson, the man who died of "compressional asphyxia" in a struggle with Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office detectives, want another agency to take the lead on the continuing investigation into his death.

"They had to find out Keeven lost his life at the hands of another, and that's very, very hard for them", she said. "And now they have to move on to making funeral arrangements for this 22-year-old, who should not have died". He advised reporters at a information convention Monday that 22-year-old Keeven Robinson's demise is assessed as a murder. Call me cynical, or call me a student of what happens when police kill people.

Robinson, who was the target of an undercover drug operation, fled from police in his auto, crashed into two sheriff's vehicles, and then fled on foot - jumping over several backyard fences before he was caught with drugs on him, officials said. "But if you're fighting for your life and a brick's there, you hit someone with a brick". On that fateful day, officials warned about poor air quality in the area. Police originally tried to blame his death on asthma, but now the Jefferson Parish coroner is telling a very different tale.

Spiller attended a Monday news conference in which Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto and Coroner Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich said Robinson was asphyxiated, and his death is being investigated as a homicide. We are confident that at the end of our process, this is going to be the cause of death.

Robinson was not armed, though Sheriff Lopinto said a gun was found in his auto. He shared the findings with the homicide victim's mother, the AP notes.

Even so, she said, "I will not go away".

They said they feared the officers had either beaten or strangled him to death. "Our police officers have to use force and are justified to use force on many occasions".

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"From a policy standpoint, we don't train somebody to hit someone with a brick", Sheriff Lopinto said. Lopinto said the question for investigators is whether plain-clothes narcotics officers used excessive force.

Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies do not wear body cams.

'Today is just as hard as Thursday for this family, ' the family's attorney Hester Hilliard told

"We are here to support all sides".

Also in attendance at the news conference was Gaylor Spiller of the local NAACP chapter. "I understand it fully", Lopinto said.

"He has not let me down yet, and I don't feel like he will let me down now", she said.

"The NAACP is not behind criminal actions, we do not represent criminals".

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

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