'We've just begun the fight': Family of Cedric Lofton files lawsuit against Sedgwick County, City of Wichita
Marquan Teetz has been counting the days since September 26, 2021. "It's been 262 days since my brother died."
It's been a long nine months for him and his family since his brother Cedric Lofton died. Lofton, a 17 year old teen, died after being injured inside the Sedgwick County Juvenile Intake center.
He was restrained by JIAC staff and put face down in the prone position for over 30 minutes.
To try to get justice for Lofton, lawyers representing the family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in Wichita Monday morning.
"We've just begun to fight. We owe it to Cedric to fight for him and his memory and we pledge it to Marquan, who's the spokesman of the family and the entire family. We're going to shed light on this situation. Things need to change, folks, things need to change'' said Steven Hart, an attorney for the family.
In the lawsuit, which you can read in full below, calls out the actions of Wichita Police officers and the employees at JIAC that night, saying in part that Lofton "is dead because of the actions, inaction, conscious disregard, willful and wanton, and depraved behavior of officers in Sedgwick County and the Wichita Police Department".
In the lawsuit, it references a 2016 report by the Kansas Department of Corrections that reviewed policies and procedures at JIAC. Andrew Stroth, another of the family's attorneys says of the report “In March of 2016, the Kansas Department of Corrections inspected JIAC, and they prepared a formal report about JIAC. This report outlined the systemic deficiencies at JIAC and the JIAC was ill equipped to handle individuals with mental health trauma that Jack was ill equipped in de-escalation, training and procedures."
John Marrese, another attorney, added "the 2016 Kansas Department of Corrections report reads as almost a word for word premonition of the failures that occurred in Cedric's case."
The legal teams say that they do not believe the county made any significant changes to its policy or actions after the 2016 report.
In the lawsuit, the City of Wichita, Sedgwick County, five employees of JIAC, and ten unnamed Wichita Police officers were all named as defendants in the lawsuit.
Teetz and his lawyers are hoping that this lawsuit will bring some much needed change to mental health and juvenile corrections in the city and county.
"The family is hurt, of course, the family more than anything, we just want to see prosecution. We want to show that you can't get away with it that, the police here cannot get away with what they did" said Teetz.
“There's legislative remedies that can be achieved here. There's training remedies that can be here. There's institutional racism, that can be eradicated here. There's so many benefits. That's just to scratch the surface” added Hart.
The full lawsuit is below.