For Immediate Release
Contact: Tina Pinedo
Unfortunately, the use of deadly restraints is not limited to adults in this country. As recently as May of this year, Cornelius Fredericks, a Black child with a disability in Michigan was murdered in almost exactly the same manner as George Floyd. This child had been placed in the care of a residential facility, Lakeside Academy operated by Sequel Youth and Family Services, for treatment at the time he died.
On May 1, 2020, Lakeside Academy staff members restrained Cornelius Fredericks for throwing a sandwich in the school cafeteria. The findings of a six-week investigation revealed a Lakeside Academy staff member sat on Cornelius’ chest for nearly 10 minutes as he lost consciousness, although at no time had he been combative or dangerous. Other staff looked on and did nothing. When Cornelius began to lose consciousness, supervisors and nursing staff waited 12 minutes to call 911 or attempt CPR. By that time, he had died.
This underreported murder bears striking similarities to recent cases of police violence. A Black child commits a minor transgression, which is followed by deadly force for nine minutes, a conspiracy of silence, and failure to call for help.
The Protection and Advocacy (P&A) network address restraint related deaths and injuries regularly in their work. In addition, P&As work to prevent injuries to people with disabilities at the hand of care providers, police, and school resource officers.
The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) Executive Director Curt Decker states, “We are glad to see an intense focus on the need to protect people with disabilities of all ages, many of whom are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Reform must be swift and effective to prevent another person from being hurt or killed at the hands of those charged to protect him from harm.”
# # #
The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the P&A/CAP Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.