Cornelius Fredericks
Can't Breathe

Cornelius Fredericks

May 2, 2020
Cornelius Fredericks
Cornelius Fredericks

Cornelius Fredericks, a 16-year-old ward of the state, was placed in the Lakeside Academy, a Michigan facility for teenagers with behavioral problems, by the state's foster care system after his mother died and his stepfather was sent to prison.

It is reported by his aunt that Cornelius suffered behavioral problems and post-traumatic stress disorder. He was placed in Lakeside Academy for treatment of these problems.

On April 29, he was sitting at a table during mealtime and threw a sandwich at another child at the facility. Fredericks was thrown to the ground by staff members, restrained by six or  seven adult staffers, including two on his torso, for approximately 12 minutes. During this time he cried out  "I can't breathe.

"While being restrained, Fredericks suffered cardiac arrest. Despite the facility nurse’s presence, no aid was given to him other than a call to 911.Cornelius fell into a coma,  was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead three days later. It was discovered at the hospital that he tested positive for COVID-19.

I left my baby lying here
I left my boy behind
I loved my boy although I left him
To grow and someday love to find

I left my baby in the city
I left my baby in its snows
I wanted him to find a loved one
To keep the vigil as he grows

His father left because of weakness
I had to leave this boy behind
From heaven’s door I whisper to him
I hope someday his love he’ll find

I left my baby lying here
I left my baby boy behind
Then in an instant crushed like velvet
Again this baby boy was mine

-Charlotte Mountain

Cornelius Fredericks

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