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Offbeat Louisiana man who died in police custody asphyxiated, had neck trauma

00:07  15 may  2018
00:07  15 may  2018 Source:   nbcnews.com

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A young black man who died in the custody of four white Louisiana deputies had "significant Two of the victims died of sharp force trauma while a third was asphyxiated , police confirmed. Video shows arrest of NJ man who died while in police custody . Vineland Police Chief Timothy Codispoti

A young black man who died in the custody of four white Louisiana deputies had "significant traumatic injuries" to his neck consistent with asphyxiation , according to the coroner, who classified the case as a homicide. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office put the four narcotics agents involved in

Image: Sheriff Jospeh Lopinto speaks during news conferenceSheriff Jospeh Lopinto speaks during news conference on May 14, 2018.© Provided by NBCU News Group, a division of NBCUniversal Media LLC Image: Sheriff Jospeh Lopinto speaks during news conferenceSheriff Jospeh Lopinto speaks during news conference on May 14, 2018.

A young black man who died in the custody of four white Louisiana deputies had "significant traumatic injuries" to his neck consistent with asphyxiation, according to the coroner, who classified the case as a homicide.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office put the four narcotics agents involved in the confrontation on desk duty and asked Louisiana State Police and the FBI civil rights task force to join his investigation of how drug suspect Keeven Robinson, 22, was killed Thursday.

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Significant traumatic injuries to the soft tissue of the neck . Consistent with asphyxia . Keeven Robinson's cause of death will be that. Autopsy: Louisiana man who died in custody asphyxiated , had neck trauma .

The death of a 22-year-old black man who died in police custody in Louisiana has been ruled a homicide. Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich, the county coroner, said on Monday that preliminary findings show Robinson suffered severe trauma to his neck consistent with compressional asphyxia .

"I understand this incident will be under a microscope," Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said at a Monday news conference where the preliminary results of this weekend's autopsy were announced.

An attorney for Robinson's family, Hester Hilliard, said the autopsy result compounded their grief.

"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."

A community march was planned for Monday evening as Robinson's family said they believe excessive force was used to subdue him.

"They're killing the children," Robinson's grandmother, Sheryl, told reporters. "Enough is enough."

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Keeven Robinson, 22, died in police custody on May 10, 2018, in Metairie, La. His death was ruled a homicide by asphyxiation . Robinson, who was unarmed when agents detained him, had a gun in his vehicle and heroin on him, according to Lopinto.

The death of a black man in police custody in Louisiana has been ruled a homicide by asphyxiation , a coroner said Monday. Keeven Robinson, 22, died Thursday at a Jefferson Parish hospital following a car chase with deputies who said he was a suspect in a narcotics investigation.

Robinson, who was the target of an undercover drug operation, fled from police in his car, 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.

On Thursday, at the scene, Lopinto said there was "no indication" that deputies had choked Robinson. He noted that the suspect had a history of asthma and that air quality was poor. "It appears to be probably asthma-related," he said then.

But Jefferson Parish Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich said Monday that the post-mortem examination showed Robinson's death was "caused by the actions of another."

The damage to the soft tissues of his neck, he said, left him confident that the cause of death will be "compression asphyxia" when the autopsy process is completed. He said it was consistent with someone choking, grabbing or leaning on Robinson's neck.

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A 22-year-old black man who died in the custody of four white Louisiana narcotics detectives had traumatic neck injuries consistent with asphyxia , a coroner said Monday. His death was ruled a homicide most likely caused by asphyxiation , according to preliminary results of an autopsy released

Keeven Robinson, 22, died Thursday of compression asphyxia , the Jefferson Parish coroner announced The death of a 22-year-old Louisiana man in police custody last week has been ruled a Keeven Robinson, who was black, died Thursday of compression asphyxia , Jefferson Parish

The coroner noted that the forensic finding of homicide is different from the legal definition and that it will be up to police and prosecutors to determine if a crime was committed.

Lopinto said the four deputies were read their rights and gave statements.

"They were in a fight with this gentleman effecting an arrest," the sheriff said. "Our police officers have to use force and are justified to use force on many occasions."

Asked whether the office has a policy on the use of chokeholds, Lopinto said, "From a policy standpoint, we don't train somebody to hit someone with a brick — but if you're fighting for your your life and the brick's there, you hit somebody with the brick."

Lopinto said the investigation would determine if the use of deadly force on Robinson — who did not have a gun on his body but had one in his car — was justified.

The sheriff's office does not use body cameras or dashboard cameras.

The sheriff said he told reporters Thursday that asthma was the likely culprit because that information — supplied by Robinson's family — was the best information — supplied by this family — he had at the time. He said he asked state police and the FBI to join the probe to ensure there's an independent body involved.

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Louisiana has had particularly tense debates about police conduct and race in recent years. Mr. Robinson’s death came less than three months after the Louisiana authorities declined to charge two Baton Rouge police officers in connection with the fatal shooting of Alton B. Sterling in July 2016.

A young black man who died in the custody of four white Louisiana deputies had "significant traumatic injuries" to his neck consistent with asphyxiation , according to the coroner, who classified the case as a homicide.

"Never can have too many sets of eyes to make sure we're doing it properly," he said.

Gaylor Spiller, president of the NAACP's Jefferson Parish chapter, praised the sheriff for his response to the autopsy results.

"I find him to be a decent, honorable sheriff," he 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 do the crime, you do the time," she added. "But one thing we will not stand for is the killing of an individual."

Image: Jefferson Parish Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich speaks during a press conference on May 14, 2018.Jefferson Parish Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich speaks during a press conference on May 14, 2018.© Provided by NBCU News Group, a division of NBCUniversal Media LLC Image: Jefferson Parish Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich speaks during a press conference on May 14, 2018.Jefferson Parish Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich speaks during a press conference on May 14, 2018.

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