Before Eric Garner was strangled by Police, there was McKenzie Cochran -- another unarmed man who was killed by Mall Security!
Both resulted in death with no charges.
Find out what the town is talking about below...
While the security guards who held McKenzie Cochran face down on the floor at Northland Mall last January as he struggled to breathe were clearly poorly trained, they had no intent to harm him and will not be criminally charged in his death, Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper announced at a news conference today.
An autopsy showed Cochran, 25, died of compression asphyxiation that prevented him from breathing. Video taken of the Jan. 28 incident by shoppers at the mall in Southfield showed several security guards holding him down, one straddling him, as he kept saying "I can't breathe, I can't breathe."
Cooper said the security guards kept him on the ground and constrained for too long, while waiting for Southfield Police. The situation grew worse when a mall dispatcher sent police to the wrong end of the mall, causing several minutes' delay. And the name of the store where Cochran was tackled by guards does not show up anywhere in the mall directory.
Cooper said she consulted an expert on civil rights violations with the U.S. Justice Department who reviewed the videos, police reports and autopsy and determined that "no officers made any serious efforts to restrict Mr. Cochran's breathing." Rather the arrest took too long and the guards, untrained, kept him restricted for too long.
"The problem was it went on for a very long time," Cooper said.
Reporters asked why her office did not bring lesser charges, such as manslaughter.
"There was no intent to harm," Cooper said, noting it took the guards nine minutes to handcuff him, even after he was on the ground and had been pepper-sprayed.
Cooper noted, too, that the guards were fearful that Cochran was possibly armed and dangerous. In the minutes leading up to the confrontation, Cochran had approached the counter of the L.A. Diamonds store, wearing a large puffy coat, and told the store clerk that he wanted to kill somebody. It was later determined that Cochran was not carrying a weapon.
In a store video of the confrontation, the guards can be seen arriving and ordering him out of the mall, but he weaves and appears to evade them, heading away from the door. A guard pepper-sprays him seconds before they take him to the ground.
While the actions of the guards were not criminal, there is likely civil liability, Cooper said, for the guards, the company that supervised them and the mall, which employed them, as well as the dispatcher who sent police to the wrong part of the mall.
"The question is not were they negligent but whether they were criminally negligent and they were not. But there certainly is the question of major civil liability."
Cooper was joined at the news conference by Southfield Police Chief Eric Hawkins, who called Cochran's death "a tragic accident heavily influenced by lack of training by a private security company."
Cochran's family is suing the mall, the guards and the management company. Their attorney, Gerald Thurswell, told the Free Press outside the news conference, "There is no question they were grossly negligent in so many ways."
That case, in Oakland County Circuit Court, is expected to go to trial next year.
The mall's management company has since changed security firms, but it's not known if any of the guards involved in Cochran's death were hired by the new security firm.
Cochran's death prompted calls by Michigan legislators to require formal training for security guards. Michigan is only one of seven states that do not require such training. In a 2000 case, Frederick Finley died as a result of an altercation with Lord & Taylor security guards at Fairlane Town Center in Deaborn. In that case, the Finley family was awarded $7.5 million in a lawsuit settlement.