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Local organizers call for independent prosecutor, accountability in Cedric Lofton case

Cedric Lofton's brother, Mark Teetz (left), attended a rally where demands were read by community organizers in the investigation of his brother's death.
Kylie Cameron
Cedric Lofton's brother, Mark Teetz (left), attended a rally where demands were read by community organizers in the investigation of his brother's death.

Community organizers made several demands in the ongoing investigation of Cedric Lofton’s death at the Sedgwick County juvenile facility.

The Community Empowerment & Resilience Coalition called for an independent prosecutor outside of the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s office to rule on Lofton’s case.

Organizers say that previous comments made at an initial press conference by District Attorney Marc Bennett raise questions about his objectivity.

“As a result of the lack of action taken in regards to this case and having a history of not prosecuting law enforcement, this community has lost faith in Marc Bennett as district attorney,” Maurice Evans, better known as Pastor Moe, with Powerful Community Church said at a rally Monday where the demands were read.

Organizers also demanded in a letter to local lawmakers to make video related to Lofton’s death public. They also want the names of those involved in his death to be released.

An autopsy report made public last week ruled Lofton’s death as a homicide.

“The autopsy just confirmed what we already knew,” Lofton’s brother, Mark Teetz, said at the rally. “It is a shame on [Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center] that they would try to persuade the public’s eye – sugarcoat what really happened behind the walls of JIAC.

“I just want justice for my brother, Cedric Lofton. I want you to say his name – Cedric Lofton.”

The report said Lofton suffered cardiopulmonary arrest while he was handcuffed and lying on his stomach.

According to the autopsy report, Lofton was restrained after getting into a fight with staffers at the Sedgwick County Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center in September.

Lofton was taken to a hospital and was pronounced brain dead two days later.

Video from inside the facility was shown to Lofton’s family, according to The Community Voice, a newspaper with a largely Black audience. Teetz told The Community Voice that the video showed “unnecessary and excessive restraint” by juvenile facility employees, which he said led to Lofton’s death.

Lofton's family released a statement through its lawyers in December, calling for criminal charges against the law enforcement personnel responsible for his death.

"This confirms our belief that Sedgwick County personnel at the Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center (JIAC) in Wichita killed Cedric,” the statement said. “As supported by the video evidence, these individuals unjustifiably and with excessive and unreasonable force pinned Cedric to the ground, ultimately killing the unarmed, 135-pound, 17-year-old African American teenager.”

According to the county, employees at Sedgwick County Corrections who were involved in the incident are on paid administrative leave pending results of the District Attorney’s investigation.

Bennett has said that he expects a decision later this month on whether criminal charges will be filed.

Kylie Cameron (she/her) is a general assignment reporter for KMUW. Before KMUW, Kylie was a digital producer at KWCH, and served as editor in chief of The Sunflower at Wichita State. You can follow her on Twitter @bykyliecameron.