Four security guards have been charged with involuntary manslaughter after pinning down a 25-year-old Black man at Northland Center mall in Southfield as he gasped, “I can’t breathe,” in 2014, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Wednesday.
Lucius Hamilton, John Seiberling, Gaven King, and Aaron Maree are scheduled to be arraigned on the charges in 46th District Court in Oakland County on Wednesday afternoon.
The guards are accused of killing McKenzie Cochran, who was unarmed and died of compression asphyxiation, according to an autopsy.
The confrontation began after mall security guards were called to the L.A. Diamonds store, where the clerk said Cochran was acting suspiciously. Cochran was pepper-sprayed, hand-cuffed, and held face down by security guards for nine minutes.
After an eight-month investigation, Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper declined to charge the guards, saying they did not intend to kill Cochran at Northland Mall.
Nessel pledged to take over the investigation following the May 2020 death of George Floyd, who also cried out, “I can’t breathe,” while a Minneapolis cops pinned him down with a knee on his neck.
“My office will conduct a thorough and comprehensive review of this case to determine whether any additional action should have been taken in response to Mr. Cochran’s death,” Nessel said in June 2020. “If the evidence warrants additional action, we will make efforts to ensure justice is served.”
Nessel plans to discuss the case during a press conference at 10 a.m Thursday in Detroit.
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