Michigan AG to review 2014 shopping mall death of black man

June 16, 2020 GMT

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s Attorney General will review the 2014 death of a 25-year-old black man who died during a struggle with security guards at a suburban Detroit shopping mall.

Dana Nessel’s office said Tuesday that it will look into how McKenzie Cochran died as protests continue in the Detroit area and across the country following last month’s death of George Floyd.

Police in Southfield initially investigated Cochran’s death before turning the case over to the Oakland County prosecutor’s office which decided not to issue criminal charges against the security guards.


Southfield police and the prosecutor’s office requested Nessel’s review.

“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 a release. “If the evidence warrants additional action, we will make efforts to ensure justice is served.”

Cochran’s family has been told about the review.

Demonstrations and unrest spread to Detroit and other cities around the U.S. following the May 25 death of Floyd in Minneapolis. A white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes, even after the handcuffed black man stopped moving and pleading for air.

Cellphone video taken Jan. 28, 2014 by shoppers at the now-closed Northland Mall, just north of Detroit, showed Cochran being held face-down on the floor by several security guards as he struggled to breathe, according to a September 2014 story by the Detroit Free Press.

Cochran also had been pepper-sprayed. An autopsy showed he died of compression asphyxiation.

Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper said at a September 2014 news conference that the guards were poorly trained but had no intent to harm Cochran.

During the news conference, Cooper said she consulted an expert on civil rights violations with the U.S. Justice Department who reviewed the videos, police reports and autopsy.

It was determined that the arrest took long and the guards restricted Cochran for too long, Cooper said.

Cochran was not armed.

Cooper told the Free Press last week that she would ask Nessel’s office to review the case.