Northland Mall death in 2014 brings manslaughter charges against 4 guards

October 14, 2021, 8:38 AM

Security video of the incident that killed McKenzie Cochran, 25. (Photos: Fox 2)

A rough Northland Center mall takedown seven years ago comes back to haunt the four security guards involved. They're now charged in the death of a McKenzie Cochran, a 25-year-old man they tried to restrain.

Attorney General Dana Nessel's office lodged involuntary manslaughter counts Wednesday against Lucius Hamilton, John Seiberling, Gaven King and Aaron Maree, The Detroit News and other media report.

King and Seiberling were arraigned in 46th District Court in Southfield, with $2,500 personal bond set for each, The News says. The other two men are due to be arraigned Thursday afternoon.

The charges come after Nessel vowed in June 2020 that her office would review the Cochran case, which she noted had similarities to the Memorial Day 2020 death of George Floyd.

Cochran, of Ferndale died from position compression asphyxia. ... Cochran, an African American, was asked to leave the mall after an employee reported he was acting suspiciously inside and outside a jewelry store.

In a subsequent struggle with guards, Cochran was pepper sprayed and pinned to the floor, during which he could be heard gasping, “I’m not resisting — I can’t breathe.”

Eight months later, former Oakland County prosecutor Jessica Cooper decided not to charge anyone. Although the guards were poorly trained, she said, "there was no intent to harm."

"They didn't hit him. They didn't place him in a chokehold," Cooper said at the time.

In a statement Thursday, Nessel says: "Video evidence shows Cochran remained face-down with his arms under his body while the five security guards restrained him. [One guard has died.] Witnesses at the mall, and subsequent interviews with the guards involved, reported hearing Cochran say he couldn't breathe during the restraint."

Read more:  The Detroit News

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