A Disturbing Video Shows How A 16-Year-Old Black Boy Was Violently Restrained Over A Sandwich Before Dying
Cornelius Fredericks died two days after several members of a Michigan youth facility pinned him to the ground and sat on him for more than 10 minutes.
On April 29, Cornelius Fredericks threw a sandwich in the cafeteria of the youth facility center he stayed at in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Seconds later, at least seven Lakeside Academy staff members pinned him to the ground and restrained him for more than 10 minutes, according to a recently released surveillance video.
The disturbing footage showed that as a group of employees restrained him, the teenager "urinated on himself" and was "left to lie lifeless on the floor," Geoffrey Fieger, an attorney who represents the Fredericks estate, said during a press conference.
Two days after being pinned to the floor, Fredericks, 16, went into cardiac arrest and died at a local hospital. Last month, Kalamazoo prosecutors charged three of the staff members, including one nurse, with involuntary manslaughter.
On Tuesday, Fieger called on the prosecutor to bring charges against the others involved in restraining Fredericks.
"You will see on the videotape that far more people were involved in his killing, and I'm calling on the Kalamazoo prosecutor to charge those additional people," Fieger said.
The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide as a result of restraint asphyxia.
Michael Mosley, 47, and Zachary Solis, 28, were charged with involuntary manslaughter for restraining Fredericks in a grossly negligent manner and with second-degree child abuse.
The facility's nurse, Heather McLogan, 48, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and second-degree child abuse for failing to seek timely medical care for the teen.
According to a civil lawsuit filed by Fredericks's family last month, the teen screamed "I can't breathe" as the employees restrained him. At one point in the video, they are also seen trying to lift Fredericks's limp body into a sitting position, but he falls back on the floor.
After several minutes of restraining him and leaving him on the floor, some employees are seen administering CPR.
"He was suffocated for an excess of 10 mins and left to lie on the floor lifeless with no one providing any medical care or treatment, including the nurse," Fieger said Tuesday. "The nurse just stood over his lifeless body and provided no help whatsoever to Cornelius other than calling 911."
Warning: This video contains disturbing content.
"It is a horrific videotape, and it demonstrated what other employees have told is a culture of fear and abuse at the Lakeside facility," Fieger said.
He added that "suffocation was regularly practiced" on the facility's children and that Fredericks had been previously suffocated as a form of discipline.
The teen had been a resident of the facility after his mother's death and during his father's imprisonment.
Lakeside Academy previously told BuzzFeed News that the three charged employees had been fired, as were seven other employees who were involved, including the facility's executive director. The state has also suspended the facility's license.