Video shows juvenile facility staff held Black teen facedown before his death | Kansas


Surveillance video shows a Black 17-year-old struggling with staff at a Wichita juvenile center last fall before his death, which followed being restrained facedown for more than 30 minutes.

Late on Friday, Sedgwick county released 18 video clips of what happened before Cedric Lofton was rushed to a hospital on 24 September. He died two days later.

The release of the clips followed the announcement by the Sedgwick county district attorney, Marc Bennett, that the Kansas “stand-your-ground” law prevented him from pressing charges because staff members were protecting themselves.

Bennett said he struggled with whether an involuntary manslaughter charge was justified, but concluded it was not.

Sedgwick county’s webpage crashed after the video was posted.

But several area television stations posted clips of some of the approximately two hours of footage, which did not include audio. The Wichita Eagle posted a video that was an hour and a half long.

One video shows several officers carrying Cedric into the Sedgwick County Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center while restrained in something called the wrap, a device comprised of a locking shoulder harness, leg restraints and ankle straps.

The sheriff’s office describes it as a way to restrain a person who is “out of control” so they do not hurt themselves or others.

According to Bennett’s report, Cedric had become paranoid and was hallucinating.

His foster father said the situation got worse after the teen attended his grandmother’s funeral. At a foster official’s urging, the foster father drove Cedric to a mental health provider but he walked away.

When Cedric returned home, foster officials told the foster father to call police. But the 5ft 10, 135lb teen resisted the officers who responded to the home, assaulting at least one, Bennett’s report said.

The wrap was removed at the juvenile center, according to Bennett’s report. An unrestrained Cedric walked out of his holding cell and tried to grab a computer monitor from the intake counter.

Video shows him resisting attempts to place him back in the holding cell. At one point, he can be seen punching an employee in the head.

The video shows detention workers wrestling Cedric into the cell and more employees showing up to help. The camera doesn’t show a close angle of what is happening inside the cell.

Bennett’s report said staff shackled Cedric’s ankles and put him on his stomach on the floor. His report said the teen was “mumbling” at times, repeated that he was Jesus and said staff should kill themselves and that he would “hex” them.

Staff noticed he wasn’t breathing after they called to arrange for him to be taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation.

KSNT reported that after the teen had spent about 30 minutes facedown in the cell, video appears to show workers flipping him on to his back. They eventually start CPR and paramedics arrive.

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