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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Gino Spocchia

Black teenager died of heart attack after being forcibly restrained by at least seven men

A black teenager held down and restrained by several men for throwing a sandwich at a youth facility in Michigan later died of a heart attack.

Detroit attorney Geoffrey Fieger said on Tuesday that 16-year-old Cornelius Fredericks had been pushed and pinned down because he threw a sandwich.

Surveillance video shared on Tuesday showed at least seven staffers clasping Fredericks as he struggled. The video has no sound.

His attorney submitted a civil lawsuit last month that said Fredericks had screamed “I cant breathe” as he was pinned down for almost 8 minutes on 29 April at the Lakeside Academy in Kalamazoo.

Several men appeared to pull and hold down Fredericks’ arms and legs while others sat on him.

The surveillance video ends with the men attempting CPR on the teenager, who appeared limp.

“He’s not fighting at all ... his shoes and his feet are just lying there,” said Mr Fieger of the videotape.

Authorities said the teenager went into cardiac arrest and died two days later in hospital.

The death was ruled a homicide and the doctor who performed the autopsy said Fredericks died of asphyxia.

Three staffers at the youth facility in Kalamazoo have since been dismissed and charged with involuntary manslaughter and second-degree child abuse in Fredericks’ death.

Mr Fieger has called on authorities to charge others.

“As you can see in the video, far more than two people are involved in suffocating him,” said the attorney. “I would urge them to reconsider the other people ... who are clearly involved in the killing of Cornelius.”

Mr Fredericks added that an expert had analysed the videotape and seen sections missing.

“It jumps and there suddenly people are no longer in the scene that were there one second before,” he said.

Michigan terminated its contract with the Lakeside Academy last month and removed all 125 youth being housed there.

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