A coroner has ruled the death of 22-year-old Keeven Robinson, a black man, while in the custody of four white police officers, a homicide.
According to reports, Robinson’s death was caused by “significant” trauma to his neck consistent with compressional asphyxia, Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich said in a press conference Monday (May 14) Cvitanovich also said he delivered the news to Robinson’s mother prior to informing the press “At this point, the manner of death is homicide.”
Cvitanovich explained the forensic definition of murder as “death caused by the actions of another,” but the doctor also detailed homicide doesn’t indicate criminality, which means the detectives may not be charged.
Robinson was taken into custody by police from New Orleans’ Jefferson’s Parish on suspicion he was selling drugs. Robinson reportedly tried to get away in his car, but crashed. He attempted run on foot and hopped over several fences before being captured by law enforcement.
Reportedly during the struggle Robinson stopped breathing. Officers took him to Oschner Medical Center but doctors were unable to revive him.
“We know at that moment [detectives] used force during that arrest in order to make the arrest, an effective arrest after a pursuit and after a foot chase,” Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said at the Monday press conference.
When asked if the cops involved used a chokehold, Joseph said he wasn’t aware. He also noted police are “not trained” to use the chokehold on suspects, but aren’t “forbidden from doing that.”