Civil rights group calls for shoppers to say "no to Northland" after man's death
6:28 PM, Feb 3, 2014
6:31 PM, Feb 3, 2014
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) -
We need answers from Northland mall," said Reverend Charles Williams II who heads up The National Action Network (NAN) in Detroit. "We are concerned about the safety of this mall right now."
Williams and over two dozen NAN supporters went to Northland Center Monday in hopes of meeting with the mall's general manager to discuss the security guards that were involved in the pepper-spraying and struggle with 25-year-old McKenzie Cochran.
When Southfield Police arrived, Cochran was sitting on the floor with his back against a wall, handcuffed and not breathing.
No security guard rendered any CPR to Cochran. Instead, Akil Copeland, a witness, told 7 Action News that the guards were standing in a human circle around Cochran.
Copeland says guards dismissed his requests to help Cochran who went from yelling "I can't breathe" to appearing lifeless.
On Monday, when Williams and NAN members were at the mall, Northland Center's General Manager Brent Reetz greeted them and then read a prepared statement that began by telling the group that Northland Center was private property and that protests are not allowed.
Reetz's brief statement did say he would be willing to meet with NAN representatives at a mutually agreed date and time.
Reetz, repeatedly, declined to answer whether the guards were on any sort of leave during the investigation by Southfield Police into Cochran's death.
He also declined to offer condolences to Cochran's family.
Having not been given any information about the status of the security guards involved in Cochran's death, Rev. Williams called for people to say "no to Northland."
Williams stopped short of calling it a "boycott", but he urged people to not shop at Northland by saying, "People need to teach their dollars some sense."