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Protesters call for special prosecutor in Cedric Lofton death investigation

Published: Jan. 3, 2022 at 12:06 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 3, 2022 at 12:07 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Community members held a protest in downtown Wichita on Monday calling for justice in the death of Cedric Lofton. The 17-year-old died on September 26, 2021, from injuries he suffered while in custody at the Sedgwick County Juvenile Intake Assessment (JIAC).

Supporters say they want transparency in the case. They read aloud a letter Monday morning that was then delivered to the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office.

Organizers say they have three key demands in how the Cedric Lofton case should be handled going forward. Their demands include a special and independent prosecutor for Lofton’s case, from outside of the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office; the release of the video from the Wichita Police Department and JIAC; and the release of the names of individuals involved in the events leading up to Lofton’s death, including police officers and corrections staff.

Cedric Lofton, 17, died in police custody in Kansas. His death has been ruled a homicide.
Cedric Lofton, 17, died in police custody in Kansas. His death has been ruled a homicide.

Last week, an autopsy determined Lofton’s manner of death was a homicide. When the term homicide is used by a coroner, it is not a legal conclusion and does not imply intent. The district attorney’s office said last week it is reviewing the case and will have a decision on if any charges are filed sometime this month. Pastor Maurice (Moe) Evans, a spokesperson for Lofton’s family, said they feel that decision should be put in the hands of someone outside of the county.

“The false statements that were made in the press release by Sheriff Jeff Easter and Marc Bennett. The continual leak of false information. The delay in the handling of this. The history of never having prosecuted anyone in law enforcement. We just don’t have confidence in his independence in this situation,” said Pastor Maurice (Moe) Evans, speaking on behalf of Lofton’s parents.

The group said if they don’t hear from the district attorney’s office by next week, they will explore other options. The district attorney’s office has not yet responded to the demand letter.

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