Louisiana Coroner says Man Likely Choked to Death in Custody of Sheriff Deputies
Mother’s Day was devastating for Kiwanda Robinson after learning her son was likely choked to death by Louisiana sheriff's deputies last week.
Her 22-year-old son, Keeven Robinson, died on May 10 in the custody of Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies, who said they chased him down on the suspicion that he was dealing drugs.
On Saturday, Jefferson Parish Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich ruled the death a homicide, saying Keeven Robinson died from compressional asphyxia after determining there was "significant traumatic injuries to the neck, the soft tissue of the neck."
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto initially tried to blame the man's death on his history with asthma.
Now the sheriff has asked the FBI, the state police and the federal Civil Rights Task Force to investigate, according to the Times-Picayune.
Also investigating with be the Jefferson Parish sheriff's homicide unit, the sheriff said.
A surveillance video shows that he fled after his car was surrounded by three unmarked vehicles, so it's not even clear if he knew they were cops.
According to a report by KTLA:
Undercover detectives assigned to the case tracked Robinson down at a local gas station and tried to arrest him...but Robinson jumped in his vehicle and led police on a chase after spotting them.
The suspect rammed several police cars before crashing his vehicle, he said.
Robinson took off on foot, jumping several fences before deputies caught him in the backyard of a nearby residential neighborhood, Rivarde said.
A struggle ensued, the lieutenant said, with deputies eventually handcuffing Robinson. Once Robinson was in handcuffs, detectives noticed Robinson was not breathing, he said. Detectives administered life-saving techniques before Robinson was taken to a local hospital, where he died, he said.”
No body or dash camera footage exists of the incident because the sheriff’s office has refused to purchase them, citing costs, even though there were federal grants available to fund them.
Video has surfaced from the convenience store where deputies say they first tried to arrest Robinson. The video shows deputies driving up on Robinson, who quickly speeds away.
Family members led a march on Tuesday, May 15 in the area in Metairie where Robinson was killed.