Surveillance video shows a 17-year-old black man struggling with staff at a Wichita juvenile center last fall before his death, which followed being held face down for more than 30 minutes.
Late Friday, Sedgwick County released 18 video clips of what happened before Cedric Lofton was rushed to hospital on September 24. He died two days later.
The release of the clips followed Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett’s announcement that Kansas’ “stand firm” law prevented him from pressing charges because staffers were shielding themselves.
Bennett said he struggled to determine if a charge of manslaughter was warranted, but concluded that it was not.
The County of Sedgwick webpage crashed after the video was posted.
But several TV stations in the area released snippets of some of the roughly two hours of footage, which did not include audio. The Wichita Eagle posted an hour and a half video.
Video shows several officers carrying Cedric into the Sedgwick County Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center as they are restrained in what is known as the sling, a device consisting of a lockable shoulder harness , leg ties and ankle straps.
The sheriff’s office describes it as a way to restrain an “out of control” person so they don’t hurt themselves or others.
According to Bennett’s report, Cedric had become paranoid and had hallucinations.
His adoptive father said the situation worsened after the teenager attended his grandmother’s funeral. At the request of a foster parent, the adoptive father drove Cedric to a mental health care provider, but he walked away.
When Cedric returned home, foster parents told the adoptive father to call the police. But the 5-foot-10, 135-pound teenager resisted responding officers at the home, assaulting at least one, according to Bennett’s report.
The packaging was removed at the juvenile center, according to Bennett’s report. An unrestrained Cedric emerged from his holding cell and tried to grab a computer screen at the admissions counter.
Video shows him resisting attempts to put him back in the holding cell. At one point, he can be seen punching an employee in the head.
The video shows detention officers battling Cedric in the cell and other employees showing up to help. The camera does not show a close angle of what is happening inside the cell.
Bennett’s report says staff chained Cedric’s ankles and put him face down on the floor. His report said the teenager ‘mumbled’ at times, repeated that he was Jesus and said the staff should kill themselves and he would ‘bewitch’ them.
Staff noticed he was not breathing after calling for him to be taken to hospital for a mental health assessment.
KSNT reported that after the teenager spent around 30 minutes face down in the cell, video appears to show workers knocking him onto his back. They eventually start CPR and the paramedics arrive.