Photo: Getty Images
  /  12.27.2021

An autopsy revealed that the death of a Black mentally ill teen, who died while in custody at the Sedgwick County Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center (JIAC) in Kansas, was a homicide.

According to KWCH, 17-year-old Cedric Lofton’s autopsy listed the cause of death as “complications of cardiopulmonary arrest sustained after physical struggle restrained in the prone position.” The report said the teen developed cardiopulmonary arrest after he was placed in handcuffs and put in a prone position during the incident. Additionally, Lofton suffered a brain injury, acute kidney injury and acute respiratory failure.

Back in September, Lofton’s foster father called 911 because the teen was having a mental breakdown. Once officers arrived, Lofton assaulted them and they took him to JIAC on suspicion of battering a law enforcement officer.

Lofton’s altercation with the center’s employees began that morning after he was authorized to exit his cell. Six minutes later, two JIAC staff members grabbed the teen’s arms, however, he was able to free his right arm and punch a staff member in the head. With additional help, the employees were able to restrain Lofton. They shackled his ankles and rolled him into a prone position. After he continued to struggle, handcuffs were applied. Once he lost his pulse, the staff members started chest compressions and called for additional help. He was later pronounced dead in the hospital. The Sedgwick County corrections employees are now under investigation and have been placed on paid administrative leave.

Following the release of the autopsy results, an attorney representing Lofton’s family released a statement. “This confirms our belief that Sedgwick County personnel at the Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center (JIAC) in Wichita killed Cedric. As supported by the video evidence, these individuals unjustifiably and with excessive and unreasonable force pinned Cedric to the ground, ultimately killing the unarmed, 135-pound, 17-year-old African American teenager,” the statement read. “Cedric’s family anxiously awaits the findings of the criminal investigation and believes the Sedgwick County District Attorney should pursue criminal charges against the law enforcement personnel responsible for Cedric’s death. Cedric’s death was caused by the hands of the very authorities that were obligated to protect him and make sure he was safe. Instead, they killed him with conscious disregard for the young life in their keeping.”

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