Autopsy reveals 17-year-old Cedric Lofton’s death in custody ruled a homicide

Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – An autopsy out Monday on 17-year-old Cedric “CJ” Lofton revealed his cause of death was a homicide as a result of cardiopulmonary arrest sustained after physical struggle while restrained in the prone position.

Lofton died in the hospital after being restrained at the Sedgwick County Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center on Sept. 24.

Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter said Lofton’s foster father called 911 saying his son was having a mental breakdown on Sept. 24. The father wanted his foster son evaluated for mental health issues.

Officers tried to persuade Lofton to voluntarily seek mental health treatment before trying to take him into custody, but he resisted and assaulted the officers. He was taken to the JIAC on charges of suspicion of battering a law enforcement officer.

A timeline released by authorities showed that Wichita police left Lofton at the center only to be asked to return about an hour later because Lofton was having mental issues and was combative with staff.

DOCUMENT | Cedric Lofton Autopsy Report

That timeline shows that staff at the center were already conducting CPR on Lofton by the time Wichita police returned to the center. Emergency medical responders were able to get Lofton’s heart started before transporting him to the hospital.

The autopsy goes onto to say Lofton remained unresponsive in the hospital, and he was pronounced dead on Sept. 26.

The autopsy states Lofton’s drug screen was positive for cannabinoids. He also tested positive for COVID-19.

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Sedgwick County Corrections employees involved have been placed on paid administrative leave pending results of the District Attorney’s investigation. Due to the active investigation, county officials cannot comment.

Statement on behalf of the family of Cedric Lofton

Today, the Chief Medical Examiner for Sedgwick County, Kansas, confirmed that Cedric Lofton’s death was a homicide. According to the Medical Examiner, Cedric suffered “cardiopulmonary arrest … after a physical struggle while restrained in the prone position.”

This confirms our belief that Sedgwick County personnel at the JuvenileIntake and Assessment Center (JIAC) in Wichita killed Cedric. As supportedby the video evidence, these individuals unjustifiably and with excessive andunreasonable force pinned Cedric to the ground, ultimately killing the unarmed, 135-pound, 17-year-old African American teenager.

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. This is a tragedy of epic proportions!

These senseless killings by authorities must stop! Cedric and his family deserved better.

Cedric’s family will not rest until they have secured justice for him.

Civil Rights Attorneys Steven Hart and Andrew M. Stroth

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