SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — The killing of George Floyd continues to spark protests, as a family from metro Detroit is speaking out and saying their son and brother died under similar circumstances, but they never got the justice they deserve.
Cell phone video shows 25-year-old McKenzie Cochran, of Ferndale, being held down after security guards pepper sprayed him at the now closed Northland Mall in Jan. 2014.
Cochran’s family says they’ve been denied justice for years after his death. They now hope years later that charges can be filed.
“I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” Cochran yelled.
But a security officer replied, “If you can talk, you can breathe.”
After security placed a knee on his back and held him down, McKenzie later became unconscious and died. An autopsy later determined his death was a result of positional asphyxia.
“I have four children who never will know their uncle” said Michael Cochran, McKenzie's brother. He added the death of Floyd has brought back all the pain.
“After this happened, my mom called me and said 'I hope they get the justice we didn’t.' I watched the video of George Floyd. The words being yelled by my brother are almost the exact same."
In this case, Southfield Police found a lack of proper training. Michael says three white security guards were never charged. And when we asked Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper about this in 2014, her response stated she didn’t believe the acts were criminal, nor that she would win the case.
“I don’t charge unless I think I can win. I don’t believe there was criminal culpability” she said.
This week, in a public forum asking voters for re-election, Cooper further stated, “We never see anything that has to do with that type of racial disparity in Oakland County.”
“If she can honestly say it’s not an issue, she is not woke enough to continue in office. It is an issue," Michael said.
Attorney Gerald Thurswell tells 7 Action News Cooper could have issued a variety of charges but chose not to.
“Didn’t charge assault and battery. Didn’t charge involuntary manslaughter or manslaughter. Anyone of those things would’ve been an appropriate charge” said Thurswell.
We reached out to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s spokesman for comment on Friday. So far, there’s been no response.