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

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

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

Gerry Cvitanovich (sih-TAN'-uh-vich) is the coroner in Jefferson Parish, near New Orleans. Police were pursuing 22-year-old Robinson, who was believed to be part of a drug investigation.

Robinson was being investigated by narcotics detectives early Thursday, said Lt. Jason Rivarde, spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office.

Robinson then crashed into two Jefferson Parish deputy vehicles before getting out of his vehicle and running into some backyards in the neighborhood, hopping fences along the way according to authorities.

On Monday, Robinson's family and others protested with signs that read "Justice for Keeven".

The four detectives involved in the suspicious arrest have been reassigned to administrative duties pending the outcome of the investigation.

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

Gaylor Spiller, president of the West Jefferson Parish NAACP branch, said Robinson's family is seeking an independent autopsy.

"For me it means unity, coming together and pretty much just supporting the family", protester Regina Hollins told WWL-News.

On Monday a coroner revealed that a preliminary autopsy indicated the cause of death was asphyxiation, and there was evidence of traumatic neck injuries.

Hester Hilliard, an attorney for Robinson's family, said the sheriff and coroner have acted with "professionalism and transparency".

He said Louisiana State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and his office will continue to investigate.

As he was trying to drive away Robinson crashed into two vehicles before abandoning his auto and taking off on foot.

"They were in a fight with this gentleman effecting an arrest", he added.

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". He said it was consistent with someone choking, grabbing or leaning on Robinson's neck.

The FBI's Civil Rights Task Force, which the sheriff also contacted Saturday, is looking into the matter as well, Lopinto said. The sudden, tire-squealing approach of non-uniformed men with guns can be hard to distinguish from a robbery or carjacking attempting, and numerous high-profile incidents involving plainclothes cops suggest that people respond differently than officers are trained to expect when the cops who approach them aren't in uniform. "They are grieving, and today they had to find out that Keeven lost his life at the hands of another". "They're afraid of the police".

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

She praised Lopinto and Cvitanovich for being open about the autopsy results and the investigation. "I knew he just didn't die because the ozone was high".