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Kansas Officer Changed Report Before Death of Black Teen

A community task force reviewing the death of a Black teenager in Kansas who was restrained for more than 30 minutes at a juvenile detention center found that an officer changed his answers on a form that would have led police to take the teen to a hospital instead of booking him into the detention center, reports the Associated Press. The officer initially reported signs that Cedric Lofton, 17, needed medical attention before the officer changed his answers, the Wichita Eagle reported. The officer "initially said yes, that there were signs of acute illness that appear to need immediate medical care. Yes, there were signs of intoxication with significant impairment in functioning,” Jodi Tronsgard of the Sedgwick County Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center told the task force. “ ... he was informed that if you answer ‘yes’ ... you have to leave and take the youth for a medical or mental health release ...hearing that, he goes and then responds ‘no’ to these questions.”

Interim police Chief Lem Moore said he wasn’t aware that the officer had changed his answers on the form until the newspaper asked about it. He ordered a review of the case to determine if it’s possible the officer falsified information. Lofton’s foster father called authorities in September seeking help because the teenager was hallucinating. Police initially tried to persuade him to go to a mental health facility, but body camera video shows him refusing to go and resisting when officers tried to force him. Lofton was taken to the detention center, where he was restrained after a struggle with staff members. He had to be resuscitated after he was held facedown, and he died two days later. District Attorney Marc Bennett declined to charge the detention center workers in January, citing the state’s stand-your-ground self-defense law.


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