The guards are accused of restraining McKenzie Cochran in 2014. Witnesses reported they heard Cochran say he couldn’t breathe and was not resisting.
Cochran died from compression asphyxia on the floor of the Northland Shopping Mall. He was asked to leave the mall after an employee reported he had been acting suspiciously around a jewelry store. Cochran was pepper sprayed and pinned to the floor.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said the 25-year-old told security guards he could not breathe because of the the way he was positioned on the ground.
In 2014, then Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper did not pursue criminal charges and said there was no intention to kill and no chokeholds were done by the security guards.
In 2020, Cochran’s family asked Southfield police chief Elvin Barren to review the case a second time. Barren decided to send it to the Attorney General’s Office.
The four security guards were charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter Wednesday.
“It’s a tragic, tragic death, but we have moved forward as a community, as a state, as a country and we no longer swipe these things to the side when we know there has been wrong doing,” said Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald. “Our job is to do everything possible to bring justice to these victims and, in this case, McKenzie Cochran.”
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