Two state lawmakers are calling for a state review of security guard training following a recent death involving a man after he was pepper-sprayed at Northland Mall in Southfield.
McKenzie Cochrane, 25, of Ferndale died Jan. 28 following a scuffle with security guards outside a jewelry store where witnesses said he displayed unusual behavior, including telling a store employee he wanted to kill someone.
Cochrane was sprayed when he resisted efforts to remove him from the mall, according to witnesses who said he was overheard complaining he couldn't breath. Southfield police called to the mall said Cochrane, who was handcuffed and sitting on the floor, still had a pulse and he was transported to an area hospital where he died.
In a joint press release Wednesday, Democratic State Reps. Thomas Stallworth III of Detroit and Rudy Hobbs of Southfield urged the Michigan State Police and Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to “take swift action to review state standards for training, licensing and compliance reviews of security guard forces.”
“We need standards for security guards that ensure that force is only used appropriately and that the senseless loss of life is avoided,” Stallworth said. “The state has experienced a number of these incidents over the years, and we need to put a stop to it.”
Hobbs said: “We need immediate attention placed on reviewing a code of conduct for security guards because every life is important and a person's bad day shouldn't end in death at the hands of non-sworn personnel paid to keep the public safe.”
While the death remains under investigation, the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality earlier this week called the actions of the mall security officers a “heinous, odious display of force.”
“It is appalling in this day and age that we have to revisit matters of human brutality such as this,” Ron Scott, coalition spokesperson, said in a statement. “All citizens and organizations who are like-minded should come together to achieve these purposes, so that Mr. Cochran's death will not have been in vain.”
The Oakland Country Prosecutor's Office said it will not review the case before reviewing a report, including toxicology test results, from the county medical examiner's office. The initial autopsy found no signs of physical trauma on Cochrane.