Family of Cedric Lofton asks for criminal charges after autopsy rules teen’s death a homicide

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 10:33 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A family is asking for criminal charges after the official autopsy results rule 17-year-old Cedric Lofton’s death a homicide. The teen died in custody in September . Months later, from official reports and the autopsy, we’re learning some of the details that led up to his death. We know the family and the family’s attorney watched the video showing more of what happened, but it has not been publicly released. Lofton’s family wants that to be done.

“Does this count as a conspiracy? Does this count as a coverup? I don’t know,” said the spokesperson for Lofton’s family who goes by “Pastor Moe,’ referring to the video not being released. “What does the law say when the people who are supposed to be investigating a wrongdoing are the people doing the wrong thing?”

On behalf of the family, Moe is speaking for the first time since the autopsy and releasing one of the last photos of Lofton taken before his death. That photo shows the teen unconscious in a hospital bed, connected to several tubes and monitors.

Lofton died on the morning of Sept. 26, two days after police responded to his foster father’s home after a caller reported Lofton having a mental health breakdown and paranoia. Lofton, died while in Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center (JIAC) custody. The corrections employees involved in the incident leading to Lofton’s death have been placed on paid administrative leave while the Sedgwick County District Attorney investigates.

“They should have been suspended immediately without pay. They should not be getting paid right now,” Moe said. “Criminal charges should be filed.”

The autopsy listed Lofton’s cause of death as “complications of cardiopulmonary arrest sustained after physical struggle restrained in the prone position.” It said Lofton developed cardiopulmonary arrest after handcuffs were applied and while he was in a prone position during the incident on Sept. 24.

Lofton also suffered a brain injury, acute respiratory failure and acute kidney injury. He was also positive for COVID-19. A drug screen showed he had THC and Esmolol, a beta-blocker, in his body, but no alcohol or other drugs.

The attorney for Lofton’s family also released a statement in response to the official autopsy report that the 17-year-old’s manner of death was homicide. The statement is as follows:

“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. 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.”

The Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing the autopsy report and investigations by the KBI and Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office continue. The DA’s office will determine if any charges need to be filed.

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