Fam­ily ques­tions po­lice use of force

Ta­won Boyd’s at­tor­neys ask why of­fi­cers were sent to deal with a ‘med­i­cal cri­sis’

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Jes­sica An­der­son Bal­ti­more Sun re­porter Tim Pru­dente con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle. jkan­der­son@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/jan­ders5

The at­tor­neys for a Bal­ti­more County man who died fol­low­ing a strug­gle with po­lice ques­tioned why of­fi­cers used fa­tal force while re­spond­ing to a call the fam­ily says was for a “med­i­cal cri­sis.”

At­tor­ney A. Dwight Pet­tit said Ta­won Boyd, 21, called 911 on Sun­day re­quest­ing med­i­cal per­son­nel, but in­stead ended up in a vi­o­lent con­fronta­tion with po­lice of­fi­cers at his Mid­dle River home.

Boyd was in­jured and taken to Franklin Square Hos­pi­tal, where he died Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

“It makes one won­der what poli­cies and pro­ce­dures the county and the Po­lice Depart­ment might have when there’s a med­i­cal cri­sis,” Pet­tit said Thurs­day.

The Bal­ti­more County po­lice and fire depart­ments are con­duct­ing an ad­min­is­tra­tive re­view of the in­ci­dent, and the state med­i­cal examiner will con­duct an au­topsy, the county said Thurs­day.

Po­lice ini­tially said Boyd’s girl­friend called 911 to re­port he was act­ing “crazy.” But on Thurs­day, the depart­ment said Boyd was the caller. Po­lice said they orig­i­nally thought the girl­friend was the caller be­cause in­for­ma­tion from the dis­patcher said: “fe­male yelling on the phone.”

A sec­ond 911 call placed about 20 min­utes later con­sisted “mostly of scream­ing and other noise,” said po­lice, adding it was un­clear who placed that call.

La­toya Fran­cis-Wil­liams, an­other at­tor­ney for the fam­ily, said Boyd “was sim­ply con­fused, [there was] never any al­le­ga­tion he was act­ing out” or a danger to any­one, in­clud­ing him­self.

“I’m kind of at a loss for words. I just want my son back,” said Boyd’s mother, Martha Boyd, who spoke briefly at the news con­fer­ence at Pet­tit’s of­fice. “They could’ve tased him. They could’ve maced him. They could’ve helped. He called for help.”

Pet­tit likened the po­lice re­sponse to Boyd to the fa­tal shoot­ing in Au­gust of Kor­ryn Gaines by a Bal­ti­more County po­lice of­fi­cer.

Pet­tit said the fam­ily is await­ing Boyd’s au­topsy, which he called a “a cru­cial piece of ev­i­dence,” along with the po­lice re­port and wit­nesses state­ments.

Of­fi­cers were called about 3 a.m. Sun­day to Boyd’s home in the first block of Akin Cir­cle, ac­cord­ing to the po­lice re­port. At the home, po­lice said Boyd and his girl­friend, Deona Sty­ron, were scream­ing at each other, and that Boyd kept yelling, “There is some­one in the house you need to go in­side and search!”

Of­fi­cer Seck­ens, who wrote the re­port, said Boyd was sweat­ing heav­ily and “ap­peared to be ... para­noid.” (The county re­leases only the last names of of­fi­cers in­volved in in­ci­dents, ac­cord­ing to an agree­ment struck with the po­lice union.)

Sty­ron told the of­fi­cers that Boyd had been drink­ing and smok­ing mar­i­juana, the re­port said.

When an of­fi­cer tried to speak to Boyd, he “started run­ning and scream­ing,” the re­port said, and tried to get into a po­lice car and then into a sec­ond po­lice car. Of­fi­cers ran to stop Boyd, who started yelling for some­one to call the po­lice.

Three of­fi­cers at the scene tried to calm Boyd to take him in for an eval­u­a­tion but could not, the re­port said, prompt­ing them to try to take him into cus­tody. Of­fi­cer Gar­land grabbed Boyd’s arm, but Boyd pulled away. The of­fi­cers or­dered Boyd to get on the ground and put his hands be­hind his back, but they said he did not com­ply with the or­ders, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

Of­fi­cer Bow­man grabbed Boyd, and the of­fi­cers forced him to the ground, but Boyd “con­tin­ued to push, kick and flail,” and then kicked one of­fi­cer in the head and Of­fi­cer Bow­man in the face.

Bow­man then hit Boyd twice in the face with a closed fist, the re­port said. Bow­man let go of Boyd, but po­lice said he did not com­ply with the or­der to get on the ground.

The re­port said medics were re­quested be­cause of Boyd’s in­juries from Bow­man’s blows. Two more of­fi­cers, Holt and Black­burn, ar­rived at the scene. Black­burn held Boyd’s hands above his head, while Holt grabbed some flex cuffs and placed them on Boyd’s feet to keep him from kick­ing.

Medics ar­rived, one medic ad­min­is­tered some­thing to Boyd, but the treat­ment was redacted in the po­lice re­port. Po­lice of­fi­cials said med­i­cal pri­vacy laws pre­vented them from re­leas­ing the in­for­ma­tion.

Ta­won Boyd, a 21-year-old Bal­ti­more County man, died Wed­nes­day af­ter fight­ing po­lice of­fi­cers called to his home Sun­day.

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