Answers In Renner-Lewis Case May Be Far Away
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 19, 2004
KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN--Resolution in the restraint-related death of Michael Renner-Lewis III may be a long way off yet, according to the Kalamazoo Gazette.
Kalamazoo County Prosecutor James Gregart said early last week that his office has not determined whether criminal charges will be filed in the death of the 15-year-old who had autism. Gregart said he is waiting for a supplemental report from Dr. Richard Tooker, the county's medical examiner, before making his decision.
On Friday, a trial date of April 5, 2005 was set for the $25 million wrongful death lawsuit the teen's family has filed against the school where Michael died.
The 16-page suit was filed last December in U.S. District Court. Michael's family accuses the Parchment School District, Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency and their employees of assault and battery, false arrest and imprisonment, gross negligence and violation of his constitutional rights.
On the first day of school, August 25, 2003, the 6-foot, 165-pound teen died while or after he was restrained on his stomach.
School officials said he had a seizure early in the day. He recovered from the seizure, but soon became "agitated". In an effort to calm him down, four staff members "tried to quiet Michael". Each grabbed one of his limbs and sat down on the floor next to him in a room behind the school auditorium, police said.
A family caregiver arrived to take Michael home, but found him unconscious on the floor. She started giving Michael CPR, but was too late to revive him.
He was pronounced dead at a local hospital early that afternoon.
An initial autopsy report showed "no obvious anatomical causes" of death. At last report, investigators were still waiting for the results of toxicology tests.
School officials have denied many of the family's accusations, and have called for the judge to dismiss the case.
"The Death of Michael Renner-Lewis III" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)