Disturbing footage has emerged from a Michigan youth facility showing an encounter between staff members and a 16-year-old boy. The video shows hospital staff forcefully restraining Cornelius Fredericks on the ground during an incident at the Lakeside Academy in Kalamazoo. The teen was then hospitalized before passing away two days later. Now, examiners have ruled the death a homicide, and one attorney is demanding that the staff be held responsible.
An Abuse of Authority
Attorney Geoffrey Fieger, who represents Fredericks’ estate, released the troubling footage on Tuesday, July 7. The video from April shows the boy throwing a sandwich before Lakeside staff members gather around him and push him to the ground. They proceed to restrain Fredericks for about 12 minutes, after which the boy appears to be unconscious.
The Associated Press reports that Fredericks went into cardiac arrest while being restrained, and was unresponsive when police arrived. He was taken to a hospital, where he died two days later. The Kalamazoo County Medical Examiner’s office later confirmed the death as a homicide by asphyxiation.
“In my opinion, the complications of him being restrained, on the ground in a supine position by multiple people, is ultimately what led to his death,” said Dr. Ted Brown, who conducted the autopsy.
“He’s a child, he threw a sandwich,” Fieger said in a video statement. “And he was executed.”
Staffers Face Charges
Following the incident, three members of the Lakewood Academy staff have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and second-degree child abuse. Two of them, Michael Mosley and Zachary Solis, are accused of restraining Fredericks in a “grossly negligent manner,” according to a county prosecutor. The Hill reports that Mosley and Solis are also facing homicide charges.
The third staffer, Heather McLogan, is accused of gross negligence for waiting too long to seek medical care for the teen, reports Associated Press.
WARNING: This clip contains footage that may be disturbing.
Still, Fieger is calling for more charges in the case, pointing out the involvement of several other individuals in the video footage.
“You will see on the videotape that far more people were involved in this killing, and I’m calling on the county’s prosecutor to charge those additional people,” he says.
The attorney also said he had spoken to Lakeside employees who claimed this was not an isolated incident.
“The mechanism for dealing with children in this facility was abuse and fear,” said Fieger. “In fact, suffocation was regularly practiced upon children. They called it ‘fearing.'”
Following the incident, Lakeside Academy released a statement pledging to cooperate with the police investigation of the incident.
“This incident does not reflect our mission to serve and care for our clients with excellence and we are committed to making the necessary changes to ensure something like this does not happen again,” the statement read.
Youth Facility Death — Sources
Associated Press – “3 charged after medical examiner rules teen’s death homicide”
Associated Press – “Police: Teen restrained by youth facility staff later dies”
Associated Press – “Video shows facility staff restraining Black teen who died”
Fox 2 Detroit