Wichita advocates are still searching for answers in the death of Cedric Lofton, the 17-year-old Black teenager who died after being restrained by police officers last year. The incident occurred at the Sedgwick County Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center, where Lofton was taken after being arrested on suspicion of battery of an officer. The police were called to his foster home after he apparently “appeared paranoid and was behaving erratically,” according to a report from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
At the facility, Lofton was taken from a cell to use the restroom. While returning to his cell, he allegedly hit an employee. A struggled ensued which involved Lofton being held on the concrete ground for more than 30 minutes. Sedgwick County Community Task Force member Marquetta Atkins told NBC News that he was experiencing a mental health crisis at the time.
However, police determined that the teen was not in need of medical attention. Lofton allegedly continued to resist, leading officers to place restraints on him. The county reviewed the incident and discovered that the teen suffered a bloody nose and started to “snore” after being restrained for an extended period of time. Moments later, Lofton was silent and authorities were unable to find a pulse.
Officials transported the victim to a hospital after performing chest compressions; he died 2 days later. “Something so simple could have changed that child’s life. From beginning to end, they have handled this situation wrong,” Atkins said. “The only person that’s been held accountable for Cedric Lofton’s death is Cedric Lofton.”
Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett refused to file charges against the officers who restrained Lofton, citing the state’s “stand your ground law” and claiming that they had been defending themselves. Lofton’s death was ultimately ruled a homicide.