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Mentally Ill Detainee Paralyzed in Brutal New Jersey Jail Beating Files Suit

By Ed Lyon

A lawsuit was reportedly filed in New Jersey Superior Court for Essex County on April 26, 2022, on behalf of a mentally ill man left paralyzed from a brutal beating he suffered while detained at the county jail.

Surveillance video of the incident on September 23, 2021, shows 22-year-old Jayshawn Boyd was relentlessly attacked for two minutes and 23 second by a group of seven fellow detainees in the Essex County Correctional Facility (ECCF) gang unit, who knocked him to the floor and stomped on his head, beating him with fists, a broom, a microwave oven and a water cooler before dowsing him bucket of bleach water.

Boyd, a diagnosed schizophrenic, had been taken to the jail after failing to appear on charges stemming from a family altercation in 2020. Since his medical condition was duly noted when he was detained then, it is unclear why he wasn’t put in the medical unit when he returned to the jail rather than being placed in the gang unit, where he was attacked within hours of his arrival from COVID-19 quarantine for reasons that are also unclear. Equally unclear is why it took guards so long to respond to the beating.

Jail officials did not report the incident until the video was leaked to the media in November 2021.That was shortly before another ECCF detainee, Dan Milford Gelin, 27, was fatally stabbed on December 2, 2021. Fellow detainee Ashton Barthelus, 26, was charged with his murder and related weapons violations.

Newark attorney Brooke Barnett said she had spoken to Gelin’s family but is not yet representing them. She filed the suit for Boyd’s family, accusing guards of failing to intervene in his attack, as well as accusing jail officials of providing inadequate medical care. Boyd’s criminal charges were dropped, and he now lives with his mother, who cares for him.

Barnett’s suit on his behalf also accuses jail officials of subjecting him to unsafe conditions of confinement at ECCF, whose 2,600 beds are typically about 90% full. Emergency medical personnel were called there 99 times in the first half of 2020 but 169 times during the same period in 2021.

Sources: New Jersey Advance Media, New York Times

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