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New York: Prisoner Kills Himself After Brutal Beating by Guards

The lawsuit alleges that prison guards beat Taylor until he was unconscious. Shortly afterward, Taylor committed suicide. Court filings say the suicide was a direct result of the beating.

Taylor was 21 years old when he entered the New York prison system — and 22 when he left in a body bag. Taylor had a past filled with mental health issues in conjunction with suicide attempts. He had been sentenced to a life term at a young age, causing him documented bouts of depression, according to court records filed in the case.

On October 7, 2017 Taylor had his second negative reaction in two days after smoking synthetic marijuana, commonly referred to as K-2. A group of guards responded to Taylor’s cell where they beat him beyond recognition. Once the beating had stopped, he was hog tied and thrown down a flight of stairs face first, court papers say.

Taylor was seen at the infirmary at Wende prison after the brutal beat-down by guards. He was eventually transferred to an outside hospital in Western New York for his injuries but returned to the prison just hours later.

He told prison staff that he was depressed and asked to call his mother. That request was denied as he was placed on SHU (Special Housing Unit Status), for violating rules by using intoxicants. Despite records of past suicide attempts and his verbal expression just days earlier that he wanted to kill himself, rather than putting Taylor on suicide watch, staff ordered him to a cell by himself. Once there, court papers say, the assault by staff pushed him over the edge.

Taylor found a bedsheet and wrapped it around his neck, tying it to a bar in the cell, and took his own life. The lawsuit says that at the time Taylor took his life he was denied access to his support network and left unsupervised even though prison staff knew he had a history of depression, attempted suicide and frequent suicidal ideation.

In 2018, a New York State medical review board determined that 50 New York state prisoners have died in the past five years because of insufficient medical care. Many of the reported deaths were a result of suicide, and a number of them occurred at the Wende prison.

New York state has a history of guards brutalizing prisoners dating to the 1970s’ Attica riots, when prisoners were killed and beat. Beatings and prisoner deaths at the hands of prison guards is an injustice that needs to cease. If New York’s history is any indication of what is to come, it is unlikely the abuses will stop. See: McDay v. Eckert, USDC (W.D.N.Y.), Case No. 1:20-cv-00233. 

 

Related legal case

McDay v. Eckert