FBI reviewing case of Wichita teen who died at a Sedgwick County juvenile facility
Friday’s announcement comes as advocates call for a Department of Justice investigation into possible civil rights violations in Cedric Lofton’s death.
The FBI is reviewing the case of a 17-year-old who died last year in a Sedgwick County juvenile facility.
County Commissioner David Dennis announced the FBI’s review of Cedric Lofton’s death during a special commission meeting Friday.
The FBI is part of the Department of Justice, which declined to comment on the matter.
Dennis said the week of the teen’s death last September, the FBI requested information from the county sheriff’s office about the case. The information was turned over.
Lofton died while being restrained at the facility. His family and authorities have said he was suffering a mental health crisis.
Friday’s announcement comes as advocates call for a Department of Justice investigation into possible civil rights violations in Lofton’s death.
“It can all be done. All of it,” Commissioner Lacey Cruse said. “This investigation, the policy change, a look at systematic change.”
A joint task force that is reviewing Lofton’s death will send a letter to the DOJ asking for an investigation. The county commission voted Friday to support the task force’s decision to send the letter.
Commissioner Jim Howell was the only vote against the motion, saying the DOJ isn’t going to listen to the commission or the task force. He supports a citizen grand jury instead.
“I just think this is the wrong process,” Howell said. “I support the task force, especially in the mission they were called together to perform. I know that the DOJ is doing whatever they want to do.”
Kansas is one of five states that allows for citizens to petition for their own grand jury.
A successful petition would need 2 percent of the turnout in the last gubernatorial election, plus 100 – or more than 3,000 signatures.
Maurice Evans, also known as Pastor Moe, is a spokesperson for Lofton’s parents. He said that the family and their attorneys are currently reviewing the law.
“The end-results in the past haven't been promising, there is secrecy in the process and we are still a little unclear on the jury selection process,” he said in an email.
The law was used to convene a grand jury in McPherson County last year in a college student’s rape case. The grand jury decided not to recommend charges.