Witnesses testify in hearing for 4 security guards charged in death of man at Northland Mall in 2014

Witnesses say victim said he couldn’t breathe

The four former security guards charged in the 2014 death of a man at Northland Mall are due in court on Monday. READ: https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/local/2022/08/08/4-charged-in-mans-2014-death-at-northland-mall-in-southfield-due-in-court/

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Four security guards charged in the death of a man at Northland Mall in 2014 appeared before a judge on Monday.

Witnesses reportedly heard the 25-year-old man saying he couldn’t breathe while he was being restrained after an encounter at the mall in Southfield.

A preliminary hearing took place Monday, but it’s far from over. The judge is going to determine if Lucius Hamilton, John Seiberling, Gaven King and Aaron Maree will be going to trial.

The testimony came eight years after Mackenzie Cochran died at the Northland Mall and at times, some witness recollections were foggy.

The first witness was working in the mall dispatch center and recalled getting a call from the owner of L.A. Diamonds, where Cochran was.

Moments after that call, two security guards arrived and another witness, who was sitting nearby, said they asked him to leave a few times.

Then a guard pepper sprayed Cochran and they tussled. A witness said guards tried to grab him and he was fighting back. They said the first two guards took him to the ground and a third guard showed up -- eventually, five security guards were involved.

Witnesses said Cochran said several times that he couldn’t breathe and that he was screaming. The guards did not get off him, according to the witness.

His death was previously ruled accidental asphyxia by the Oakland County Medical Examiner in 2014. The current medical examiner, Carl Schmidt, reviewed the case and ruled it homicide.

Read: ‘Delayed justice’ -- 4 charged years after man’s death at Northland Mall


About the Authors:

Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.