YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The parents of a 16-year-old student who died at a Yonkers school for troubled teenagers are demanding answers and justice for their son.
“I’m torn between disbelief, disgust, anger,” Andre Foster said at a news conference in Queens on Monday. “I’m just looking for some kind of justice.”
Corey Foster died on April 18 at the Leake & Watts facility shortly after going into cardiac arrest while being restrained by several staff members, police said. Foster had apparently become agitated while playing basketball.
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“We’re not talking about one staff member being involved, we’re talking about multiple, grown, adult bullies piling on Corey Foster,” said attorney Jacob Oresky, who alleged a pattern of abuse at the school. “I think it’s time to air their dirty laundry and clean it up.”
The victim’s mother, Sheila Foster, is calling on the Westchester County district attorney to release her son’s autopsy results and videotape of the incident supposedly captured by security cameras. She said witnesses heard her son say, “I can’t breathe.”
“Someone told him, ‘if you can talk, you can breathe,’” Sheila Foster told CBS 2’s John Slattery. “They ignored his cries for breath. He’s killed and no one claims to know the complete story. Corey was punched in the face, restrained and wrestled down by six to eight staff members.”
The school educates students with severe emotional, mental and academic disabilities and many students live on campus.
In a statement, the school said it continues to cooperate fully with the authorities will not have any further comments until the investigations have concluded.
At least eight employees have been suspended without pay.
Sheila Foster said she made an organ donation on behalf of her son. The skin from his back was given to the New York Firefighter’s skin bank, Slattery reported.
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