Sedgwick County, City of Wichita discuss taskforce on Cedric Lofton case
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Sedgwick County and Wichita city leaders are now pledging to change the juvenile justice system after the death of 17-year-old Cedric Lofton.
The high-profile case started in September when the teen died after being held face down in the prone position for more than half an hour at the Juvenile Intake Assessment Center (JIAC) in Sedgwick County.
“The death of Cedric Lofton brings about a myriad of emotions for me. This is a tragedy that did not have to occur and should not have occurred. By now, I know many of you watching have seen the gut-wrenching video of the last moments of this teenager’s life,” Wichita City Councilmember Brandon Johnson. “I’ve been hearing a great deal in our community about questions that need answers, and continued calls for actions and change.”
The two main questions throughout this investigation have been focused on mental health resources and the use of force that contributed to the teen’s death. There’s a general consensus from all county and city leaders that 30 minutes in the prone position is too long.
“What happened was so incredibly tragic and he lost his life,” said Sedgwick County Commissioner Sarah Lopez. “As a mother watching those videos, how do you ever get over that? The time is now. It should’ve been changed in the long run but unfortunately, we are where we are and we really need to look at what we can do better to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.”
The 15-member task force, made up of civil rights leaders, law enforcement, and community partners, will look at policies and procedures, such as how the use of force policies should be changed and the resources and funding available for those experiencing a mental health crisis.
“We cannot allow the loss of someone experiencing a mental health crisis to occur again. Now is the time to rally together and support expanded funding, services, and community support for mental health,” said Mayor Brandon Whipple.
Lofton’s family has said they are thankful leaders are coming together to try to create systemic change, but at the same time, it doesn’t make up for the lack of charges against the employees involved in the teen’s death.
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