A lawyer representing the legacy of a 16-year-old boy who was seriously injured while being held by staff at the Kalamazoo facility for teens with behavioral problems said he planned to file a lawsuit today.
Lawyer Jonathan Marko compared the death of Cornelius Fredericks with the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, said the two died while detained and said, “I can’t breathe.”
Fredericks went into cardiac arrest while a Lakeside Academy employee detained him on April 29 after he threw a sandwich in the facility’s canteen, according to previous report. He was transported to the Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo where he was placed in life support and died on May 1.
The lawsuit came days after the facility lost its contract with the state health department to treat teenagers in the country’s foster state and juvenile system.
A message asking for comments from the facility was left by the Free Press on Sunday night.
A copy of the lawsuit given to the Free Press on Sunday said a video from Lakeside Academy showed an employee laying his burden on Fredericks chest for almost 10 minutes, with the teenager shouting, “I can’t breathe,” at the last moment.
The Lakeside staff waited 12 minutes before calling 911, even though Fredericks lay limp and unresponsive, Marko said.
Lakeside Academy cannot be contacted for comment on Sunday.
The lawsuit accuses the facility of two counts of negligence by failing to provide a safe living environment and to supervise employees. The Sequel Youth Services of Michigan, which manages Lakeside and is part of a national behavioral health organization for children, adolescents and adults with behavioral and emotional challenges, is also listed as a defendant in the lawsuit.
Over-detention is a common practice by facilities, the lawsuit alleges, citing more than 30 investigations carried out by the state health department since 2016. Investigations focus on violations regarding the maintenance of facilities and buildings, staff qualifications, discipline, behavioral management, population control and adequacy. staff, said the suit.
Lakeside Academy must terminate at least eight employees because of the use of improper restraints and / or failure to use proper de-escalation techniques, and / or improper population surveillance, according to the lawsuit.
The country found 10 licensing violations, including failure to comply with regulations related to population restraint and discipline, the health ministry said when announcing the end of its contract and suspension of operating licenses, according to an earlier report.
“There have been complaints of problems with Sequel and Lakeside for years and it seems like no one is listening,” Marko said in a statement. “It’s sad because of this boy’s death to make it happen. It shouldn’t go this far. Cornelius should not have to die for people to wake up. “
The lawsuit also claims the facility was negligent in its response to the corona virus to ensure the safety of its inhabitants because it was found that Fredericks was positive for COVID-19 after he was taken to hospital. It was later discovered that nearly 40 other residents and nine staff at the facility were also positive, according to the lawsuits.
“MDHHS continues to mourn the loss of this young man’s life, which ended in vain at the hands of those who were intended to care for him,” JooYeun Chang, executive director of the MDHHS Children’s Services Agency, said in a prepared statement. “We are committed to protecting children and will not accept unnecessary deaths from a young man who loses the opportunity to grow, finish his education, start a career, and start a family.”
Kalamazoo District Prosecutor, Jeff Getting, said Thursday that his office was reviewing investigations that had been completed to determine whether criminal charges were validated in Frederick’s death, according to an earlier report.
Contact Miriam Marini: [email protected]
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