Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Family wants another agency to head Keeven Robinson death investigation

Family wants another agency to head Keeven Robinson death investigation

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.

More than 100 people have been marching in a New Orleans suburb in remembrance of a 22-year-old man whose death after a struggle with sheriff's deputies has been classified as a homicide. At some points during that struggle he stopped breathing and died on the scene.

"Somebody's family actually lost a life, and I'm very cognizant of that", Lopinto said during the news conference.

"Now, it's time for us to move on to making funeral arrangements for a 22-year-old that should not have died".

Keeven Robinson's grandmother, Sheryl Robinson, spoke after the Sheriff's press conference, saying that her grandson's death is bigger than just one person. "And when the police do press them, we want them to be able to let the police do their job, but they're afraid of the police".

The fatal encounter took place on Thursday after the police tried to stop Robinson's auto at a petrol station, suspecting that he was selling drugs.

"We don't train somebody to hit someone with a brick - but if you're fighting for your life and the brick's there, you hit somebody with the brick".

Lopinto said state police and the FBI would be joining the investigation into Robinson's death. On that fateful day, officials warned about poor air quality in the area. "It appears to be probably asthma-related", he said then.


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

Cvitanovich noted that the coroner's definition of homicide is not the legal definition.

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

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

Lopinto said it was too early to conclude whether a choke hold was used.

The four plainclothes narcotics detectives involved in the arrest have been reassigned to desk work while authorities investigate the death, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said. The 22-year-old black man, who had a gun in the auto and was suspected of being in possession of heroin, was on the run from the police when he crashed his auto into two Sheriff's Office vehicle.

Hilliard said the sheriff and coroner have acted with "professionalism and transparency". Lopinto told NOLA.com he thought Robinson's history of asthma probably caused his death, but also acknowledged his officers had used force on the man while pledging a thorough investigation of whether their actions were reasonable.

"An independent set of eyes is appropriate", Lopinto said.

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