Investigation Continues in Northland Mall Death (video)

Investigation Continues in Northland Mall Death (video)

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Feb. 10, 2014)

Southfield Police continue to investigate the death of a 25-year-old Ferndale man who was pepper-sprayed and restrained by dinos02sidelogo3private security guards on Jan. 28.  The man’s death was captured on cell phone videos where he could clearly be heard telling the security guards that he could not breathe.

Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence held a press conference Feb. 10 along with Police Chief Eric Hawkins and City Council President Sylvia Jordan to discuss the ongoing investigation into McKenzie Chochran’s death.

“The police department has not yet made a determination as to fault in this incident, but nonetheless a life gallowaycollens1was lost and that demands sensitivity from law enforcement professionals,” Hawkins said.

“From viewing the surveillance from the mall as well as from the store we were able to see this encounter from the very inception,” he said.

Surveillance video shows that Chochran visited a jewelry store on Jan. 27, and Chief Hawkins characterized him as an “unwelcome subject in the store.”  When he returned the next day, he reportedly told someone in the store that he was going to kill somebody.

Private mall security came, pepper-sprayed Chochran, forced him to the ground and restrained him. When the Southfield Police arrived, he was unresponsive and subsequently died.

Hawkins said that investigators in his department have interviewed the security guards, reviewed video, Jim Shaffer ad EDITEDspoken with family and witnesses and confiscated items used by security guards in the incident.

They are also awaiting a toxicology report that could reveal if Chochran had any prior medical conditions or any substances in his system that may have affected his behavior or his health.  The results could take 4-6 weeks.

“One we receive those toxicology tests we will present the entire case to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s office, and the prosecutor’s office will make a determination as to whether or not charges will be filed in this bridget and kevin deegan krause thank youincident,” Hawkins said.

Chochran’s family is considering a wrongful death action against the mall in this case.

Mayor Lawrence said that she has been in contact with the NAACP and the family and is sharing information with them.  “The issue of race has come up in this investigation because the deceased is African American and the security guards are Caucasian,” she said.

“We want it to be very clear that the investigation of this incident is a priority and that it will be conducted thoroughly,” Lawrence said. “It is never an easy thing to lose a child, and I have personally called the family to express that on behalf of the city and myself to let them know that we do extend our condolences.”

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