Death of Black Kansas Teen in Police Custody Is a Homicide, Coroner Says

In Summary

A Black teenager’s death in police custody following a mental breakdown was ruled a homicide by an autopsy report.  

A 17-year-old Black Kansas boy who died in police custody in September died by homicide, according to an autopsy report released on Monday.  

Cedric Lofton was taken into custody in Wichita on Sept. 24 after his foster dad called authorities claiming that the teen needed to be evaluated after experiencing a mental breakdown, according to the NY Daily News.  

According to the report from chief medical examiner Dr. Timothy S. Gorrill, Lofton’s death was caused by “complications of cardiopulmonary arrest sustained after physical struggle while restrained in the prone position.”  

Lofton reportedly showed “erratic and aggressive behavior toward his foster family” and assaulted officers at the scene, as reported by CNN. He was charged with counts of battery of a police officer at the Sedgwick County Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center.  

RELATED: FBI Offering $10K for New Leads in Death of Jelani Day 
The autopsy said that JIAC staff members restrained him, put shackles on his feet, put him in a prone position and handcuffed his hands behind his back after he punched them at 5:08 a.m. on Sept. 24; at 5:12 a.m. they did not find a pulse, started chest compressions and called for emergency services, according to CNN.  

He died two days later.  

The autopsy also stated that his urine was positive for cannabinoids, a type of chemical found in marijuana. He also tested positive for COVID-19, per the report.  

“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,” Lofton’s family attorneys Steven Hart and Andrew M. Stroth said in a statement to CNN.  

Adding, “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.” 

If you or someone you know is struggling from trauma triggered by this story, resources are available here. 

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