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Family demands answers after man chased down and strangled by police

Family demands answers after man chased down and strangled by police

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.

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

According to Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto, narcotics officers were trying to engage Robinson while he was pulled over at a Shell station near the corner of Jefferson Highway and Labarre.

Robinson took off on foot, jumping several fences before deputies caught him in the backyard of a nearby residential neighborhood, Rivarde said.

When Robinson's family emerged from Lopinto's office Monday morning, his mother walked slowly, wearily, supported by tearful relatives.

The four detectives involved in the death will be reassigned to administrative duty until the investigation can be completed. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office has opted not to seek body-worn cameras for its deputies even as other departments find the devices useful in calming public outcry after shootings and violent arrests.

"And when the police do press them, we want them to be able to stand and let the police do their job", Mrs Robinson said. "I'm just so glad because I knew within my heart it wasn't, he just didn't die because the ozone was high", said Spiller.

An initial autopsy found significant traumatic injuries to the soft tissue of Robinson's neck, Cvitanovich said, cautioning that the results from the autopsy, conducted Saturday, are preliminary and more tests need to be conducted.

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

"You got somebody in 'cuffs, take them to jail", Mr Jackson said.

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.

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

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

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 auto - was justified. Officers are not expressly forbidden under department policy to use choke holds, but they aren't trained in them either. Call me cynical, or call me a student of what happens when police kill people.

Lopinto said Monday that Robinson was unarmed when he was detained.

Among those attending the news conference was Gaylor Spiller of the Jefferson Parish chapter of the NAACP.

When asked for her reaction to the autopsy results, the 61-year-old grandmother said she was not surprised. "We're not prepared to discuss that at this point", said Cvitanovich.

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