Cedric Lofton Update: One Year Later

A year has passed his death what changes have really been made?

Amyah Barnes, Newspaper

It’s been a year since student Cedric Lofton passed away in the hands of law enforcement, but have any changes been made since then?

BTV spoke to Sedgwick County Commissioner Lacey Cruse last year shortly after the incident occurred. At that time, Cruse said she was in the process of working and investigating the situation in hope for change within the system and justice for Lofton.

“We have to try and I’m willing to look to the community to all stakeholders from federal, state and local levels and do what I can to work with them to create a strategic plan and craft a plan of a new system,” Cruse said.

A task force was created by Sedgwick County to review the current policies and recommend some improvements. Cruse said that wasn’t enough.

“A task force is great for the short term for correcting the policies that need to be changed right now. But this is a long term solution that needs to be really looked into,” Cruse told us. “We have to take care of our people better and create a system that is designed for people to not only stay out of the system, but have better outcomes.”

Many people close to Lofton were upset and frustrated at the lack of progress being made in the past year. Science teacher Traci Kallholf had Lofton as a student and felt like more could’ve been done for his sake.

“They need to increase their mental health services. And I think that when called to a house like not just at the facility, but when called to a house they need to go ahead and prepare better for a mental health youth matter,” Lofton’s former teacher Traci Kallhoff said. “Policies absolutely should be reviewed and changed but then the action, they have to be put into action.”

At the county level, Cruse continues to fight for Lofton’s sake, to avoid this happening again, including calling for a state audit of the events that led to his death.

This is a post-audit to examine the implications. This isn’t to repeal it,” Cruse said at a county meeting on Sept. 28. “This is to determine what it means. How are they standing their ground when he’s on his stomach, handcuffed in a cell? How is that standing your ground? I think that’s what we’re talking about here.”

The county of commissions is still struggling with what to do next. Cruse was the most outspoken voice for the council. However since Cruse lost the reelection bid, there’s not much support from the county for more changes.

“I think that we need to be stricter on those situations,” Kallhoff said, “and not just automatically go to there’s a law that or a thing that the city said about them protecting themselves.”