Family of Md. man who died days after a violent encounter with police files lawsuit
By Monique Judge
Tawon Boyd called 911 for help on Sept. 18, 2016. After ending up in a physical struggle with the Baltimore County police officers who answered that call, he died in a hospital three days later. Now his family has filed a lawsuit against the police officers, a paramedic and an EMT who responded to that call for help.
The lawsuit—filed by Boyd’s mother, Martha Boyd, and the mother of his son, Deona Styron—alleges that officers used excessive force against the 21-year-old and that, combined with the antipsychotic drug given to him by paramedics, contributed to his death, the Baltimore Sun reports.
The complaint says, “[T]hese individual police officer defendants assaulted and battered Tawon Boyd while he was restrained by handcuffs and in custody resulting in his severe injuries and trauma to his body contributing to his death, and otherwise used excessive force and unwarranted force.”
The suit names as defendants Officers Michael Bowman, D. Garland, Pearin D. Holt, Bryn M. Blackburn and Andrew Seckens, as well as paramedic Tyler Armstrong and EMT Kenneth Burns.
It further alleges that the medical team violated state law by giving Boyd the antipsychotic drug Haldol, which it says caused him to go into cardiac arrest and organ failure.
- Dwight Pettit, an attorney for the family, told the Sun, “After some investigation, we decided that there were two basic reasons for Mr. Boyd’s death: one, the beating that he incurred, and two, the medical treatment that he received.”
Pettit noted that Boyd was the one who called for help, and added, “The irony about this case is that he was not in any way violent.” The attorney also said that Boyd wasn’t doing anything that warranted a violent response.
Originally, police said it was Styron who called 911 at around 3 a.m. on Sept. 18, but Boyd was later identified as the caller.