WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – One year ago today, Sept. 26, 17-year-old Cedric Lofton’s death would echo through Wichita, Sedgwick County and the nation.
Lofton died in the hospital two days after being taken into custody.
Here is a timeline of what led up to his death.
On Sept. 24, 2021, his foster father calls 911 to report Cedric having a mental breakdown. His foster father wanted him evaluated for mental health issues. Police report he resisted assaulting officers.
Lofton is then taken to the juvenile intake and assessment center known as JIAC.
Within two hours, staff reported Lofton as having mental issues and fighting with staff. Lofton is held face down with his hands restrained and his arms behind his back.
Eventually, JIAC staff could not find a pulse and started CPR. Finally, EMS arrives at JIAC, revives Lofton, and takes him to the hospital.
He never regained consciousness, and he died on Sept. 26.
An autopsy from the Sedgwick County coroner ruled his death a homicide in December 2021.
Ahead of the anniversary, KSN News spoke with Cedric Lofton’s brother.
Marquan Teetz, who has filed a lawsuit in the case, describes the last year as one full of the pain of darkness. KSN asked if he thought enough had been done following Lofton’s death. He says no and shares what he would like to see happen to those involved.
“Locked away, all in prison, at the very least, I would expect them to be fired, but with them currently working there, I don’t really see much progress yet at the moment,” Teetz said.
The initial call from Cedric Lofton’s foster father asked for mental health assistance. After an altercation at the house, Wichita police brought Lofton to JIAC instead of the hospital.
Teetz says a number of wrongs were made leading up to his brother’s death, pointing to a greater conversation and more resources for mental health.
“I can’t seem to fathom still how in the world in 2021 do we still not have the right mental crisis, like 911 should already be expecting those types of calls all the time.”
A year later, Teetz hopes people remember Lofton as someone who made people laugh and feel comfortable.
The task force was created to review the circumstances leading to Lofton’s death. They met for the first time on Feb. 3. It released what it saw as ways to improve the system.
Changes made to the Sedgwick County juvenile corrections system include updating the use of force policy to include the recommendations from the task force.
Having 24/7 nursing and mental health staff in its juvenile facilities and staff be trained on trauma care for youth. More conversations about future changes are scheduled to happen next month.
According to the task force, the Wichita Police Department has completed 27% of the recommendations, and 60% are in progress. Thirteen percent have not started. It includes a crisis hotline and standardized training on de-escalation and mental health first aid topics.