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$1 Million New York Jail Beating Settlement

On April 19, 2002, Nassau County, New York, agreed to pay $1 million to Gary Boylan who was seriously beaten by jail guards after being falsely charged with attempted to lure a six year old girl into his car. Boylan, 52, suffers from Parkinson's disease. In 1997 Boylan had a seizure while driving in Hicksville, New York. He pulled his car over and asked a little girl to get help. When police arrived they proceeded to arrest him on charges of drunk driving and driving while intoxicated and denied him medical treatment. Boylan was booked into the Nassau county jail and denied medical care and his medications. He was later charged with child endangerment. While at the jail, jail guards Kenneth Banchback, William Drake, Ernest Fikar, Gary Fish, Andrew Panza, Roland Anderson and Peter Skalkos, severely beat Boylan, apparently believing he was a child molester.

Boylan suffered serious, permanent injuries, including a skull fracture, head trauma, lacerations and cuts to his face, head and body. Boylan had to be hospitalized for some 33 days after the beating, which also aggravated his Parkinson's condition. Eventually the criminal charges against Boylan were dismissed and the record in the case sealed. However, his head injuries were so severe that Boylan was later declared mentally incapacitated and his mother Helen was appointed as his guardian.

Boylan filed suit in federal court against the arresting police officers, jail guards and the county of Nassau claiming false arrest, unreasonable search and seizure, and excessive force for the unprovoked beating. Boylan alleged a pattern of beatings and abuse by jail guards which would have made the county liable for his injuries. Ultimately he demanded $10 million in damages.

The case settled for $1 million four days into a jury trial. Eight jurors interviewed by local media indicated they were prepared to render a verdict in Boylan's favor. Boylan was represented by attorney Frederick Brewington of Hempstead, New York and Robert La Reddola of Garden City, NY. Brewington referred to the settlement as "a good ending to a bad situation." The settlement resolved all claims against the county and its employees. See: Boylan v. County of Nassau, US DC, ED NY, Case No. CV-99-3031.

This is the latest in a long, sordid and brutal list of successful lawsuits and criminal prosecutions involving Nassau county and its jail. Past issues of PLN have extensively reported the beating death of prisoners, for which guards were convicted of murder; seven figure jury verdicts involving discrimination against gay jail employees; six figure jury verdicts involving prisoners beaten by guards or who were not protected from attack by other prisoners and a lawsuit by the federal government challenging overall abysmal conditions and widespread violence in the jail.

Additional Source: Newsday

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Related legal case

Boylan v. County of Nassau