He wanted to be a rapper. He’d already recorded a few videos under the name Lil Ced, where he rapped about being a gangsta, drivebys, and strapping, laced with more than adequate use of the “N” word.
In his song “Swerving” he demonstrates his rhyming skills with his repetitive use of “ing” ending words like cursing, lurking, joking, purging, searching, and serving. These weren’t the creative raps of talented spitters like sfjj fsjfs and sjfslkfjsl nor did they reflect the person CJ really was, says his brother Marquan Teetz.
Instead, Marquan’s favorite reflection of his brother’s musical talent is his song “True Love,” where CJ shows his softer side. In this song he raps about the love he has to give.
“I gave you all my love. I wish I had some more to show.”
That’s his brother, through and through, said Marquan, CJ’s older brother by two years and one month. Marquan is heading up the effort to get justice for CJ who died Sept. 26 from injuries he received while in custody at the Sedgwick County Juvenile Intake Center. It was a death he says his brother did not deserve.
Reports about what happened that evening have changed, but Marquan says his brother wasn’t having a mental health episode, wasn’t strung out on drugs and he wasn’t acting out so badly that he was a threat to others. He may have been slightly depressed by the recent death of his grandmother, but otherwise, CJ was a relatively happy and excited about his upcoming 18th birthday, graduating from high school this spring, his music career and the foster home he was living in.
Especially considering the life the brothers experienced growing up, CJ was at a really good place in life.
The half brothers were born in El Paso, TX,. Marquan’s father was overseas in the military before he was born and Cedric’s father Chadrick Lofton began a relationship with his mother when he was about one-years old. Until he went to prison, Chad remained in the picture for the first two years of CJ’s life. After prison, he never returned.
The brothers remained with their mother Sarah Harrison until she went to jail when Cedric was three and Marquan was five. That’s when the brothers went to foster care for the first time. They were only there for about 3 months when they went to live with their great grandmother who lived in El Paso. They joined a household with three of their cousins whose mother was also in jail.
Taking care of the children became too much for their aging great grand and her daughter Francis Blow, picked up the CJ and Marquan and moved them to Wichita on Jan. 1, 2009.
They were only in Wichita for two months before she moved them to Junction City where they had more family. They stayed with Frances for two years until their Aunt Zenobia, who also lived in Junction City, took them in.
After an absence of five years, Sarah, who was out of jail and had been living in Las Vegas, came back into the boys’ life. She tried to rebuild a relationship with the boys, but things didn’t go well.
“She would pick us up at times and we would maybe spend the night with her, where ever she was living, because she didn’t have a place of her own,” said Marquan.
Eventually CJ went to live with Sarah but Marquan refused to go.
Sarah was typically homeless and often in trouble with the law for stealing and prostitution.
“He (CJ) would steal with Sara. He was doing the crimes she would do and he wound up going to jail about seven times in Junction City,” said Marquan. “The last time he had got out [of jail], then she went to jail,” shares Marquan. “When they came to pick her up, Cedric had nowhere to go.”
His aunt didn’t want to take him back and because of his troubles with the law, so the authorities took him to the Boys Home in Great Bend, KS instead of straight to foster care. All of this, and CJ was just 14 years old
Wichita Foster Care
Things turned around for CJ when he was placed in a foster home in Wichita, KS after six months in the Boys Home. He’d been at his current home for two years and things were going well. According to Marquan, CJ called his foster dad his step dad and the “the father he’d never had.”
When Marquan turned 18 he tried to get DJ to move in with him, but he turned him down.
“He said he was already in a good situation, like he was graduating high school, getting his driver’s license, everything was going good and he didn’t really want to leave.”
Marquen, who used to visit twice a month said CJ wasn’t having any problems.
“If he ever did get into trouble, it was like small stuff, you know, regular school type stuff,” said Marquan. “He was good.”
CJ was in high school, had nice clothes, a job working at McDonalds, friends and dreams of becoming a rapper and moving to LA.
While things were going well for CJ, Marquan said his brother was a little depressed about the death of their grandmother, Sarah’s mother. They had recently returned from El Paso where, along with Sarah, they attended her funeral.
“I believe he took it the hardest,” said Marquan, “because he didn’t really get to have the time that he wanted with her.”
His foster began noticing a change in CJ and wanted to have him mentally evaluated. CJ texted Marquan that day, saying he didn’t want to go through the evaluation.
“Because in foster care, every time you changed to a new home, you had to go through that kind of stuff, so that evening Cedric just didn’t come home,” said Marquan.
CJ left for school on Wednesday and didn’t return home until 1 a.m. Friday, 41 hours later. After the first night, his foster father reported him as missing, which classified him as a runaway in the foster care system. So, reportedly by Department of Children and Family regulations, the stepfather couldn’t let him in the home until he was evaluated and released, especially since he had three other foster kids in the home, who’s safety he needed to ensure.
The Police arrive
“Cedric was mad about that, because this was the first time he had never come home,” said Marquan.”
An initial toxicology report only showed marijuana in CJ’s system, but the results of a more extensive toxicological review still have not been released.
Marquan hasn’t seen the video of what happened when the police showed up at the foster home, but apparently unable to find a place to take him for an immediate evaluation, the police decided to take CJ to the Juvenile Intake Center. For a young man who had turned his life around and was living life correctly, the idea of going to jail didn’t go over well. An altercation with the police ensued and CJ was put into the Wrap, a restraint devise used by the Wichita Police Department.
Leaders of the Wichita Branch NAACP and the Wichita Ministerial were invited to see the video of the arrest and WPD’s footage that ends when they leave CJ at JIAC. In a released statement, they indicate CJ was alive and relatively unharmed with WPD left him.
The video of what happened to CJ at JIAC has only been seen by Marquan, Sarah, and Sarah’s attorney. They viewed the video along with members of the Kansas Bureau of Investigations and member of JIAC staff. According to Marquan, after reviewing the video, it is evident unnecessary and excessive restraint by the JIAC staff lead to CJ’s death.