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Coroner: Detained suspect in Louisiana died of asphyxiation

16 May 2018

Robinson, who was from Metairie, just outside New Orleans, died Thursday following a police chase and altercation with narcotics detectives, according to authorities.

The cause of death was "compressional asphyxia", and an autopsy Saturday revealed "significant traumatic injuries to the neck, the soft tissue of the neck", the coroner, Gerald Cvitanovich said in a news conference. We are confident that at the end of our process, this is going to be the cause of death.

"The main reason why the NAACP is involved is because given the fact that there is a lot of killing by some - some - police officers where we believe they use excessive force.That's the NAACP concern", Spiller said.

Lopinto added that the detectives involved in the incident were undercover and would not have worn body cameras. "He knows that the NAACP will be on his trail".

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. He fled after spotting detectives while at a gas station, wrecking his vehicle and hopping fences until the four detectives chased him down in a backyard, police said.

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The suspect rammed several police cars before crashing his vehicle, he said.

He was caught and died in custody.

Robinson was taken into custody by police from New Orleans' Jefferson's Parish on suspicion he was selling drugs. Lopinto's predecessor Newell Normand said the cameras encourage "Monday-morning quarterbacking" of law enforcement decisions, in a 2015 interview explaining why he had not and would not support adding the equipment. He was taken to a hospital and died.

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".

'There's no doubt [the deputies] used force, ' Lopinto said. "I have every faith in the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office to do their job and to do it correctly".

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"I know they have the expertise because this is what they do every day, but I also understand that an independent set of eyes is something that's appropriate in a case like this", he said. All have been placed on administrative duty. Lopinto said the FBI's Civil Rights Task Force will also investigate.

"They had to find out Keeven lost his life at the hands of another, and that's very, very hard for them", said Hester Hilliard, the attorney for Robinson's family said.

The sheriff said he told reporters Thursday that asthma was the likely culprit because that information - supplied by Robinson's family - was the best information he had at the time.

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

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Coroner: Detained suspect in Louisiana died of asphyxiation