Preliminary autopsy shows no fatal injuries in death of Wichita teen after being restrained

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office conducted a press conference Thursday to discuss the death of a teen in custody. On Sunday, 17-year-old Cedric “CJ” Lofton died at a hospital.

Cedric Lofton (Courtesy: Andy Thayer)

The sheriff’s office says Lofton was booked into Sedgwick County Corrections Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center on Sept. 24 for several counts of alleged battery on a Wichita police officer. While in custody, the sheriff’s office said Lofton assaulted JIAC staff and was restrained. After restraining him, Lofton became unresponsive, and EMS was summoned. Lofton was transported to the hospital, where he died.

Sheriff Jeff Easter and District Attorney Marc Bennett participated in the press conference. At that time, the sheriff laid out a timeline of what occurred.

The sheriff said on Sept. 24, Lofton’s foster father called 911 saying his son was having a mental breakdown. The father wanted his foster son evaluated for mental health issues.

Here is the timeline of events provided by the sheriff’s office:

  • 1:07 a.m. – Wichita police responded to Lofton’s foster father’s call
  • 1:13 a.m. – Wichita police arrived at Lofton’s home
  • 2:15 a.m. – Wichita police call out an officer in trouble at the home
  • 2:23 a.m. – Call for an officer in trouble ends
  • 2:32 a.m. – Lofton transported by Wichita police to JIAC
  • 2:44 a.m. – Wichita police and Lofton arrive at JIAC
  • 4:16 a.m. – Wichita police leave JIAC
  • 4:57 a.m. – JIAC requests that Wichita police transport Lofton to hospital after he was having mental issues and fighting with staff
  • 5:02 a.m. – Wichita police supervisor was asked to call JIAC back
  • 5:11 a.m. – Wichita police requested to respond to JIAC
  • 5:18 a.m. – JIAC starts conducting CPR on Lofton
  • 5:19 a.m. – Wichita police arrive back at JIAC
  • 5:24 a.m. – EMS arrives at JIAC to help administer CPR. Lofton is revived
  • 5:53 a.m. – EMS transports Lofton to Wesley hospital
  • Sept. 26 – Lofton dies at hospital

Sheriff Easter said many want to view the video of the events. However, Kansas statute 45-254 covers body camera and dash-camera video only and not video from other entities.

“In that, a person who is subject to the recording can request to view the video. A higher or heir to the descendent of the subject of the recording can view it. Any parent or legal guardian of a person under 18 years of age can view it, and an attorney for this person described in this subsection,” said Sheriff Jeff Easter.

The sheriff talked about the preliminary autopsy which didn’t identify any life-threatening injuries to Lofton and is undetermined pending further investigation and toxicology results. The sheriff said Lofton may have ingested illegal narcotics prior to the 911 call.

“We had some information that he has possibly used K-2. None of that can be determined until the toxicology reports come back,” said Easter.

The sheriff’s office said it can take four to six months to receive those results. However, it has been pushed forward due to the circumstances of the case and investigation.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is the lead in the case and could have a preliminary report by next week. Once complete, the findings of the investigation will be presented to the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office to decide how the case will proceed.

The JIAC facility is a Sedgwick County facility.

“The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office does not manage or control that facility. Obviously, it’s an important partner of ours and but no sheriff’s office deputies were there as part of this investigation,” said Col. Brian White on Monday.

For more about the JIAC and policies click below.

The NAACP of Wichita released a statement:

The Wichita Branch NAACP is deeply saddened by the recent death of 17-year-old, community member Cedric “CJ” Lofton, who lost his life while in the custody of the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department on September 26, 2021, in the Juvenile Intake Assessment Center (JIAC).

We are waiting to learn more about the situation. Understanding that a full investigation is currently underway by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, we demand an immediate and transparent investigation into the details of what occurred that led to Mr. Lofton’s death. We request the quick release of any bodycam and/or facility footage.

The Wichita Branch of the NAACP offers its condolences to the family of Mr. Lofton, and we pray for healing. Expect that we will be meeting with Sheriff Easter as we are committed to do the hard work of democracy in policing.

Larry Burks, Sr.

Cedric’s family has a GoFundMe account, click here for details.

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