A prosecutor announced Thursday that no criminal charges will be brought in the case of an unarmed black man killed while being restrained by mall security guards.
McKenzie Cochran, 25, died at the Northland Mall in the Detroit suburb of Southland in January. A day after he had been asked to leave the building over suspicious behavior, Cochran returned and reportedly told a worker at a mall jewelry store that he wanted to kill someone. The worker called security, and when Cochran wouldn’t leave, guards pepper-sprayed and restrained him. He struggled on the ground as three officers held him for several minutes, one with a knee in his back.
Cell phone video shows Cochran crying out and saying, “I can’t breathe,” as shown in footage above from local outlet WJBK. He also asked for bystanders to call 911 and said he was dying.
"Stop resisting," a guard repeated several times during the incident, captured in a longer cell phone video from a bystander
The Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Cochran’s death an accident in March, naming the cause of death as position compression asphyxia.
"This is not an issue of whether these security guards were negligent," Cooper said, according to the Detroit News. "It’s whether they were criminally negligent."
"I don’t know what an accident is, when you’ve got the knee in the back, compresses the chest cavity, which most police departments do not do, and security do not do, and then you say, ‘He caused his own death by resisting"