Four white sheriff's deputies in suburban New Orleans are under investigation after a. Keeven Robinson died last Thursday after an apparent struggle with Jefferson Parish detectives. A coroner says the most likely cause of death was asphyxiation.
Robinson's parents are stunned and his mother says she wants the officers arrested and charged. The 22-year-old stopped at a gas station when undercover detectives who were investigating Robinson for allegedly dealing drugs moved in, reports CBS News' Manuel Bojorquez.
Surveillance video shows Robinson walking into a gas station to buy a lighter and then returning to his car. But before undercover detectives watching him as part of a drug investigation can stop him, Robinson speeds off. Moments later, police say Robinson crashed his car and took off running before Jefferson Parish detectives caught him in a neighborhood backyard where there was a struggle.
"There's no doubt they used force," Jefferson Parish sheriff Joseph Lopinto said. "It's whether that force was excessive. That's what we're trying to come to a conclusion of."
The sheriff's office has not released the names of the four undercover narcotics officers involved. They've since been reassigned to administrative duty pending an investigation.
Sheriff Lopinto initially said asthma may have contributed to Robinson's death, but on Monday, Jefferson Parish coroner Gerry Cvitanovich revealed Robinson suffered significant traumatic injuries to his neck.
More than 100 protesters – including Robinson's father, Steven Jackson – marched in Keeven's name after the announcement.
"At this time, I'm really lost for words. I'm just – we're moving forward right now," Jackson said.
Robinson's mother, Kiwanda, believes her son deserved better.
"Nobody's perfect. And they don't have the right to take nobody life. Nobody," Kiwanda said.
"The people who caused Keeven's death will be arrested, will be indicted, and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said Robinson family attorney Hester Hilliard.
Police say they recovered a firearm and a bag of suspected drugs from Robinson's car. They also say the four officers were not wearing body cameras because they were undercover.
Keeven Robinson's family has started a GoFundMe page to raise money for his burial costs.