NAACP call for arrests in drug suspect's death during struggle with police

NAACP call for arrests in drug suspect's death during struggle with police

Keeven Robinson, 22, died Thursday at a Jefferson Parish hospital following a vehicle chase with deputies who said he was a suspect in a narcotics investigation.

The coroner's investigation will take weeks to finalize.

However, the NAACP and other advocates for Robinson say they won't let that stop them.

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

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

The Robinson family, including Keeven's mother, suffering at the loss of her child. "But if you're fighting for your life and a brick's there, you hit someone with a brick". But he added that the deputies who arrested Robinson were "undercover" narcotics agents and "would not have a body camera strapped to their chest on a regular basis". On that fateful day, officials warned about poor air quality in the area.

Lopinto had previously suggested Robinson's asthma may have played a role in his death.


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.

"We're confident at the end of our process that that is going to be the cause of death", Cvitanovich said. He said it was consistent with someone choking, grabbing or leaning on Robinson's neck.

Cvitanovich explained the forensic definition of murder as "death caused by the actions of another", but the doctor also detailed homicide doesn't indicate criminality, which means the detectives may not be charged.

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

"I understand. this investigation will be under a microscope, understand it fully", Lopinto told reporters.

"This incident investigation started on May 10, continues today, and will continue until the completed case report is finalized and presented to the Jefferson Parish District Attorney's Officer for its review", Lopinto said in a statement dated May 14. He fled police, according to Lt. Jason Rivarde, a spokesperson for the Parish Sheriff's Office. Louisiana State Police is conducting its own investigation into the death, as well as the FBI's Civil Rights Task Force. 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. Jefferson Parish NAACP President Gaylor Spiller said she was pleased the coroner's office issued a ruling on Robinson's death so quickly and that "there was no cover up".

Even so, she said, "I will not go away".

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