Northland Mall security guards charged in 2014 death

Four security guards at Northland Mall have been charged in the 2014 death of a

Four security guards at Northland Mall have been charged in the 2014 death of a man they were trying to restrain, the office of Attorney General Dana Nessel. 

McKenzie Cochran, 25, of Ferndale, was pinned to the floor and sprayed with pepper spray during a struggle with security guards at the now-shuttered mall in January 2014. An autopsy showed that Cochran died of compression asphyxiation that prevented him from breathing. 

Nessel’s office said Lucius Hamilton, John Seiberling, Gaven King, and Aaron Maree were arraigned Wednesday and Thursday on involuntary manslaughter charges, a 15-year felony, at 46th District Court in Southfield. Probable cause hearings for King and Seiberling are scheduled for Oct. 28.

The case was referred to Nessel’s office by Southfield Police and the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office, both organizations have gotten new leaders in the years that have passed. 

“I’m glad that it was referred, I think it’s important that we did this independent review and analysis,” Nessel said at a conference announcing the charges Thursday. “I feel very confident in the charges that I’ve explained today.”

The charges come after Nessel announced in June 2020 that her office would be reviewing the case, amid national protests demanding justice for George Floyd, who died at the hands of Minneapolis police. Similar to Floyd, video captured by shoppers at the Southfield mall showed several security guards holding Cochran down, one straddling him, as he kept saying “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.”