Group marches for suspect who died after struggle with sheriff's deputies

Group marches for suspect who died after struggle with sheriff's deputies

The death of a 22-year-old black man who died in the custody of four white detectives in Louisiana last week has been ruled a homicide, officials said.

At a news conference on Monday Parish Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich said Robinson's death had been classified as a homicide based on the preliminary autopsy results, which revealed neck injuries "consistent with compressional asphyxia".

Keeven Robinson died on May 10 after a auto chase during an undercover drug operation by the county police. 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. It was about a block away from the gas station when detectives caught up with Robinson that the fatal encounter took place.

Hours later, Robinson's family led more than 200 neighbors on a march past the spot where her only son died.

"We understand that [detectives] have a job to do and sometimes that job is hard, by all means, but under these circumstances, we believe it's appropriate for them to be on administrative duty", Lopinto said.

"I know people would ask for that, but that's just not the case when you're working in that capacity", he said. Gaylor A. Spiller, the president of the local N.A.A.C.P. chapter, said she was "so far satisfied" with the coroner's review and the sheriff's decision to reassign the deputies. He added that the FBI's civil rights task force is also looking into the matter.

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Hilliard said the sheriff and coroner have acted with "professionalism and transparency". We have the justice system for that reason. "But if you're fighting for your life and a brick's there, you hit someone with a brick". The investigation is supposed decide whether or not the level of force used by detectives was justified.

The NAACP is also calling on Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto to get body cameras, set up a citizens review panel and implement better sensitivity training for deputies. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office does not use body cameras and the officers involved were undercover detectives.

Lopinto on Thursday said authorities suspected Robinson's death was due to his lengthy medical history of asthma.

Robinson, left, had reportedly been the target of an undercover drug investigation and was suspected of dealing narcotics, according to police.

Robinson's death is one of the latest in a string of nationwide incidents involving police being accused of using excessive force against black men and teens. "But they're afraid of the police, they are killing our children". "We're here to support all sides", Spiller said.

She praised Lopinto and Cvitanovich for being open about the autopsy results and the investigation.

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