Coroner: Death of man in struggle with JPSO deputies ruled homicide

Pauline Gross
May 16, 2018

Keeven Robinson died last Thursday after being chased and arrested by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, according to CNN.

At a press conference Monday, Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich laid out what initial autopsy results revealed: "Our initial autopsy findings reveal significant traumatic injuries to the neck, the soft tissue of the neck", he said. His death is now being ruled as a homicide, Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said. Complete results - including toxicology reports and examination of microscopic evidence from Robinson's lungs - will take weeks.

An attorney for Robinson's family, Hester Hilliard, said the autopsy result compounded their grief.

The coroner noted that the forensic finding of homicide is different from the legal definition and that it will be up to police and prosecutors to determine if a crime was committed. Robinson was allegedly being investigated for drugs and was spotted at a local gas station when he took off in his vehicle.

Robinson then crashed into two Jefferson Parish deputy vehicles before getting out of his vehicle and running into some backyards in the neighborhood, hopping fences along the way according to authorities.

The sheriff said Robinson embroiled in a struggle with the police, who managed to get him into handcuffs.

Sheriff Joe Lopinto said four deputies involved in the arrest have been read their rights and are cooperating in an investigation that also involves state police and the FBI.

"I understand that this investigation will be under a microscope".

Robinson's grieving family is calling for an investigation by an agency other than the local police department.

Hours later, Robinson's family led more than 200 neighbors on a march past the spot where her only son died.

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Lopinto added that the detectives involved in the incident were undercover and would not have worn body cameras.

"The reality of it is they were in a fight with this gentleman", Lopinto remarked.

Lopinto mentioned it was too early to conclude whether or not a choke maintain was used.

"From a policy standpoint, we don't train somebody to hit someone with a brick", Sheriff Lopinto said. When the 22-year-old saw detectives at a gas station, he attempted to drive away, but crashed his vehicle.

Lopinto said Monday that Robinson was unarmed when he was detained. "That doesn't mean our officers did anything wrong, or it may mean that they did something wrong".

Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies do not wear body cams.

What feels to the officers in sneakers and polos like a normal police action seems to the civilian like an ambush by strangers, making it more likely they'll flee or act to defend themselves than they might when surrounded by easily identified police.

'We're her to support all sides, ' Spiller said.

Also in attendance at the news conference was Gaylor Spiller of the local NAACP chapter.

Other reports by GizPress

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