Keeven Robinson died Thursday after a struggle with four undercover detectives from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office (JPSO) Narcotics Division.
His death was ruled a homicide most likely caused by asphyxiation, according to preliminary results of an autopsy released by Jefferson Parish Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich during a press conference Monday.
Cvitanovich said Robinson had “significant traumatic injuries to the neck,” which were consistent with “compressional asphyxia.”
The coroner said that it was a “reasonable conclusion” that such such injuries are caused when someone squeezes, grabs, or leans on the victim’s neck.
The forensic definition of a homicide is “death that is caused by the actions of another,” Cvitanovich said.
“This initial medical classification does not take into account whether the homicide was an intentional act, accidental act, or an act incidental to a law enforcement action,” Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said in a statement.
Lopinto said Monday that he could not conclude, at this time, that any of the four officers put Robinson in a chokehold during his arrest.
He said that while his officers are not forbidden from carrying out a chokehold, they are “not trained to do that on a normal basis.”
“From a policy standpoint, we don’t train somebody to hit someone with a brick, but if you’re fighting for your life and the brick is there, you hit somebody with a brick,” Lopinto said at the press conference.
He did not directly address questions about whether his detectives applied pressure to Robinson’s neck.