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No Charges in Black Kansas Teen's Custody Death

A Kansas prosecutor won’t file criminal charges over the death of a Black 17-year-old who became unresponsive while being restrained face down for more than 30 minutes after an altercation with staff at a Wichita juvenile center in September, the Associated Press reports. Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said the state’s “stand-your-ground” law prevents him from bringing charges in the death of Cedric Lofton because staff members were protecting themselves. Bennett said that if he did bring charges, “a judge would be duty bound to dismiss the case.” Bennett said he said he would like to see the legislature change Kansas’ stand-your-ground law, which provides immunity from prosecution, not just a possible defense at trial. The Wichita Police Department on Tuesday released body camera video of the incident.

Bennett said Lofton was in the midst of a mental health crisis and that police tried to get him to seek treatment, Lofton resisted, assaulting at least one officer before they could restrain him. He was taken to the Sedgwick County Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center. A security officer arrived and tried to help get Lofton back into the holding cell after Lofton tried to grab a computer monitor from the counter. Lofton hit the intake specialist, knocking his glasses to the ground. The two staff members then struggled with Lofton before more staff members arrived. Staff then shackled Lofton’s ankles, put him on his stomach on the floor, then struggled with him again before handcuffing him. A few minutes later, staff members realized Lofton had no pulse. They began chest compressions and called emergency personnel.


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