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Lawsuits & Litigation

Second Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Over Death of Keevan Robinson

— May 14, 2019

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office was recently hit with a second lawsuit over the death of Keeven Robinson.

Earlier this month a second wrongful-death lawsuit was filed against the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office over the death of Keeven Robinson. According to the suit, Robinson was fatally choked while struggling with Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office narcotics officers one year ago.” The suit was filed in federal court in New Orleans by Kiwanda Robinson, Keevan’s mother. Last month, a similar suit was filed by Robinson’s widow, Wachelle Boutte.

Jefferson Parish, Louisiana City Hall
Jefferson Parish, Louisiana City Hall; image courtesy of Infrogmation via Wikimedia Commons,

In both suits, four different deputies are named as defendants, including David Lowe, Jason Spadoni, Justin Brister, and Gary Bordelon. Additionally, Sheriff Joe Lopinto, the Sheriff’s Office, and an unnamed insurance company are also named as defendants in the suit.

In her suit, Kiwanda Robinson alleges she “arrived on the scene soon after her son died and saw him lying lifeless on the ground.” The suit adds she was “overcome with severe mental anguish, emotional distress, and grief,” and notes she is seeking unspecified monetary damages. What happened, though?

According to the suit, deputies received a tip that “he was dealing drugs, and four deputies attempted to use their unmarked cars to box in his SUV at Jefferson Highway and Labarre Place.” Robinson evaded the deputies and drove to a nearby neighborhood where he “collided with at least one deputy’s car before fleeing on foot.” Deputies chased after him to the backyard of a home, “where he surrendered before being held down and beaten,” the suit states. Later, he was taken to Ochsner Medical Center, where medical professionals pronounced him dead. A coroner later ruled Robinson’s death a “homicide caused by someone squeezing, grabbing or leaning on his neck.

The suit further states:

“Mr. Robinson struggled to breathe, remained in agony and pain for several minutes before he died as a result of the negligent, vicious and unreasonable fatal actions of defendants Lowe, Spadoni, Brister, and Bordelon.”

It should be noted that none of the deputies were wearing body cameras and there were no dashboard cameras in use, “so there is no visual record of how Robinson died.” Additionally, the suit argues that “Lopinto and JPSO did not properly examine and scrutinize the background of the deputies involved in the incident.” To make matters worse, it further alleges the Sheriff’s office “had deficient policies regarding the use of force and de-escalation of force and that the deputies were poorly trained.”

At the moment the deputies involved have yet to be criminally charged, though each of the four has been placed on desk duty.

In addition to the lawsuit, Robinson’s family plans to hold a protest on the one-year anniversary of his death.


Second wrongful-death suit filed in case of man choked to death by Jefferson Parish deputies

Family of Keeven Robinson, killed in struggle with JPSO deputies, files suit claiming wrongful death

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