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Michigan: 16-year-old black man dies after being held in a youth facility

Recordings of an incident in a U.S. youth facility have caused a sensation in the United States. Two videos of surveillance cameras from a youth facility in Michigan are circulating on social media. They show how at least seven young men hold a teenager by force on their arms and legs and push them to the ground for more than ten minutes. The boy died in the hospital two days later.

Facility workers are said to have sat on Cornelius Fredericks’ stomach and chest, even though he had shouted that he could not breathe, said a lawyer representing the boy’s estate. According to the lawyer, air pressure testing was a common form of discipline in the facility.

The trigger was apparently that the teenager had thrown a sandwich in the dining room. The incident occurred on April 29, and a video of the incident was published for the first time on Tuesday.

At the end of the recording, those present tried to raise the boy, who fell back onto the floor. Then there are other people who try in vain to reanimate him. According to an initial autopsy, the 16-year-old died of suffocation.

Three charges of negligent homicide and child abuse

Two Lakeside Academy employees in the city of Kalamazoo in southwest Michigan were fired and charged with negligent homicide and child abuse. Even a nurse has to answer in court. A number of young people were in the canteen at the time of the incident.

The victim’s family lawyer, Geoffrey Fieger, demands that other parties be charged. The video clearly shows that there were more than three perpetrators. Fieger, citing an expert, explained that parts of the video were missing. However, he did not say why they were missing and what this means for the rating of the video.

According to Fieger, the video shows what other employees have already described as a “culture of fear and abuse” at the facility. The Fredericks family filed a civil suit, such as “The Detroit News” to report. Fredericks had been in state custody for several years after his mother died and his father was sentenced to prison.

The behavior of the employees did not correspond to the politics and the measures of the Lakeside Academy with regard to emergency operations, the facility said. The staff are trained in de-escalating techniques. Fixation is only allowed if someone poses a danger to himself or others. Just last month, the Michigan State Department of Health had canceled the youth facility contract.

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