Keeven Robinson, 22, died Thursday at a Jefferson Parish hospital following a auto chase with deputies who said he was a suspect in a narcotics investigation.
The autopsy revealed that Robinson's official cause of death was "compressional asphyxia", caused by "significant traumatic injuries to the neck, the soft tissue of the neck", coroner Gerald Cvitanovich announced in a news conference. The initial coroner's finding does not force legal action, but Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said he had moved four detectives to desk duty and had each man formally Mirandized and interviewed with Louisiana State Police representatives present.
Robinson scrambled out of the vehicle and over backyard fences until detectives caught up with him behind a home on Labarre Place.
We hope the Robinson family gets justice.
"For me it means unity, coming together and pretty much just supporting the family", protester Regina Hollins told WWL-News.
The attorney representing Robinson's family, Hester Hilliard, said they are seeking an independent autopsy.
Robinson was taken into custody by police from New Orleans' Jefferson's Parish on suspicion he was selling drugs.
"I think there needs to be some oversight with another agency investigating", she said. Officers are not expressly forbidden under department policy to use choke holds, but they aren't trained in them either.
News outlets in New Orleans previously cited authorities as saying that Robinson, under surveillance by narcotics agents, drove away from a gas station Thursday morning when he saw agents approaching.
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 question for investigators is whether plain-clothes narcotics officers used excessive force. "They're grieving, and today they had to find out that Keeven lost his life at the hands of another", she said, according WDSU. Call me cynical, or call me a student of what happens when police kill people. "We're here to support all sides", Spiller said. There was a struggle, Lopinto said, before Robinson was handcuffed.
Among those attending the news conference was Gaylor Spiller of the Jefferson Parish chapter of the NAACP. The demands include the State Police arresting the four detectives implicated in Robinson's death.
The march came only hours after the autopsy results were released by Jefferson Parish Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich. "I just want the truth".