Louisiana Man Who Died in Custody Asphyxiated, Had Neck Trauma

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Louisiana Man Who Died in Custody Asphyxiated, Had Neck Trauma

22-year-old Keeven Robinson died Thursday while in the custody of undercover narcotics agents in Louisiana.

The cause of death was "compressional asphyxia", and an autopsy Saturday revealed "significant traumatic injuries to the neck, the soft tissue of the neck", the coroner, Gerald Cvitanovich said in a news conference.

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. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said Robinson was being pursued for dealing drugs. Keeven's grandmother asked the four detectives involved to remember their own families.

The sheriff's office is investigating four deputies, with help from state police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

We hope the Robinson family gets justice.

"Today is just as hard as Thursday for this family".

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.

The four officers involved in the death have been reassigned.

The attorney representing Robinson's family, Hester Hilliard, said they are seeking an independent autopsy.

Robinson was eventually caught and a struggle ensued. Robinson reportedly tried to get away in his auto, but crashed.

Robinson's grieving family is calling for an investigation by an agency other than the local police department.

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.

They said they feared the officers had either beaten or strangled him to death.

Lopinto said the names of the detectives will not be released at this time.The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office does not use body cameras.

He said that it is unclear if police used a chokehold, but added that officers are "not forbidden from doing that, but they're not trained... to do that on a normal basis".

What feels to the officers in sneakers and polos like a normal police action seems to the civilian like an ambush by strangers, making it more likely they'll flee or act to defend themselves than they might when surrounded by easily identified police. Lopinto's predecessor Newell Normand said the cameras encourage "Monday-morning quarterbacking" of law enforcement decisions, in a 2015 interview explaining why he had not and would not support adding the equipment.

Gaylor Spiller, president of the NAACP's Jefferson Parish chapter, praised the sheriff for his response to the autopsy results. But I knew out on the scene that the gentleman had asthma, I also knew it was a bad air day.

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

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