Jefferson's coroner said Robinson died of asphyxiation and had signs of trauma from pressure on his neck.
On Thursday, May 10, Keeven Robinson got involved in a tussle with four Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, police officers - all of whom were white - following a vehicle chase that began because Robinson was a suspect in a narcotics investigation. A final autopsy report is not expected for several weeks.
"Somebody's family actually lost a life, and I'm very cognizant of that", Lopinto said. While they say the 22-year-old had his share of issues, they say he didn't deserve to die.
Update from Sheriff Lopinto and JP Coroner Dr. Cvitanovich on the investigation into the death of Keeven Robinson. 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". He noted that the suspect had a history of asthma and that air quality was poor. Once Robinson was in handcuffs, detectives noticed Robinson was not breathing, he said.
NBC News reports, "Jefferson Parish Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich said Monday that the post-mortem examination showed Robinson's death was "caused by the actions of another.' The damage to the soft tissues of his neck, he said, left him confident that the cause of death will be 'compression asphyxia" when the autopsy process is completed".
Lopinto said he contacted the Louisiana State Police on Saturday after learning of the initial findings, and he asked the department to assist in the investigation.
"At this point, the manner of death is homicide", Cvitanovich said, adding that he had met with Robinson's mother to share the preliminary results with her before informing the public.
Lopinto said the four deputies were read their rights and gave statements.
"The reality of it is they were in a fight with this gentleman", Lopinto said.
Lopinto said it was too early to conclude whether a choke hold was used.
"From a policy standpoint, we don't train someone to hit somebody over the head, but if you're fighting someone and a brick's there, you're going to use the brick", he said. Police said he led them on a chase, jumped out and ran. He fled police, according to Lt. Jason Rivarde, a spokesperson for the Parish Sheriff's Office.
"Today is just as hard as Thursday for this family", Hilliard said. Lopinto said the FBI's Civil Rights Task Force will also investigate.
"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. Gaylor A. Spiller, the president of the local N.A.A.C.P. chapter, said she was "so far satisfied" with the coroner's review and the sheriff's decision to reassign the deputies.