- Associated Press - Monday, February 10, 2014

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) - Detectives are awaiting autopsy results in their investigation into the death of a 25-year-old man who died at a shopping mall north of Detroit, a police chief said Monday.

Police in Southfield have interviewed witnesses and security guards at Northland Mall after McKenzie Cochran died Jan. 28 during a struggle with mall security guards.

“There was some kind of verbal confrontation between Cochran and the security guards,” Chief Eric Hawkins told reporters at a briefing. “We are still investigating the use of force.”

Cochran, of Ferndale, was pepper-sprayed and restrained by at least three guards after a shop owner felt threatened and called for help.

Police have said Cochran told the shop owner that he wanted to “kill somebody.”

Video aired by Detroit TV stations shows guards restraining a person who says he can’t breathe.

Cochran was treated at the scene by police and paramedics but later was pronounced dead at a Southfield hospital.

Hawkins said it could take several more weeks to get the autopsy results. The case then will be sent to the Oakland County prosecutor’s office for review.

Two state legislators last week said they were calling for a review of training standards for security guards.

A few dozen people also demanded an explanation for Cochran’s death during a Feb. 3 protest at the mall.

Northland Mall must acknowledge the wrongdoing of their security officers and take proactive steps to address any deficits which may exist in their training or actions,” Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality spokesman Ron Scott said Monday in a release.

“We remain concerned about the way Northland does business and about the security of the young people who shop there and keep the mall profitable,” he said.

Hawkins, Southfield’s police chief, said his officers “interact regularly” security guards, but “don’t take an active role in how they actually go about doing their business.”

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