JPSO Probot Clarifies, the White Undercover Cops Involved in the Asphyxiation of Black Man ‘Weren’t Pretending to be Criminals’ - But Criminals Pretending to be Police w/Badges on Outside of Clothing

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From [HERE] Four white sheriff’s deputies in Louisiana have been placed on administrative duty after the death of a black man who suffered “significant traumatic injuries to the neck” pr bruising to the neck during an arrest near New Orleans last week, the authorities said.

With a criminal inquiry in its early stages, officials have not yet decided whether to charge any of the deputies in connection with the death of the man, Keeven Robinson.

Mr. Robinson, 22, died on Thursday after a foot pursuit and a struggle with deputies who were working as undercover narcotics agents, Sheriff Joseph P. Lopinto III [racist suspect in photo] of Jefferson Parish said. The sheriff said officials were examining whether the deputies used excessive force. Mr. Robinson, whose family has raised questions about his death, suffered from asthma.

“Our officers were read their rights, they cooperated, they gave statements,” Sheriff Lopinto said. “I understand that at the end, this investigation will be under a microscope. I understand it fully.”

Sheriff Joe Lopinto suggested that because the deputiies were undercover narcotics agents they would not have been wearing cameras even if most deputies did.

“I’m sorry, but our undercover narcotics agents would not have a body camera strapped to their chest on a regular basis,” Lopinto said. “I know people would ask for that, but that’s just not the case when you’re working in that capacity.”

JPSO spokesman Lt. Jason Rivarde later clarified that the officers were not “undercover” as in “pretending to be criminals,” but were in street clothes with their badges displayed. [MORE]

There is no police video of the foot chase. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office has opted not to seek body-worn cameras for its deputies even as other departments find the devices useful in calming public outcry after shootings and violent arrests.[MORE]

Sheriff Lopinto, who declined to identify the detectives who are subjects of the inquiry, reached his decision to reassign the deputies after the parish’s coroner classified Mr. Robinson’s death as a homicide. The ruling — a medical judgment, not a legal one — reverberated loudly through the New Orleans region. More than 100 people protested on Monday evening in Jefferson Parish, among the most populous Louisiana parishes.

The coroner, Dr. Gerald Cvitanovich, said the findings of his office’s preliminary autopsy were that Mr. Robinson’s death was “consistent with compressional asphyxia.” A final autopsy report is not expected for several weeks. [MORE]