At vigil, mourn­ing and calls for jus­tice

Ta­won Boyd, 21, died af­ter en­counter with po­lice

Baltimore Sun - - MARYLAND - By John Fritze Bal­ti­more Sun re­porter Jessica An­der­son con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle. john.fritze@balt­sun.com

Fam­ily mem­bers say things changed for Ta­won Boyd when his son was born three years ago: He picked up more steady work and seemed to be putting his life to­gether.

As they gath­ered for a vigil out­side Boyd’s home in Mid­dle River on Fri­day, the peo­ple who knew the 21-year-old Bal­ti­more na­tive best chose to re­mem­ber him walk­ing his son, also named Ta­won, along the side­walk here — in­stead of his al­ter­ca­tion with po­lice on Sun­day that put him in the hos­pi­tal.

Boyd died Wed­nes­day at Franklin Square Med­i­cal Cen­ter.

“He worked, he came home, he took care of his fam­ily,” said Melissa Bah­ner, a 37-year-old Glen Burnie woman who said she had known Boyd since he was in el­e­men­tary school. “What­ever he was go­ing through that night was not reg­u­lar.”

Sev­eral dozen fam­ily mem­bers and friends — who re­ferred to Boyd as “Taytay” — lit can­dles on the side­walk near his home and held bal­loons. Some di­rected anger at Bal­ti­more County po­lice, and shouted, “Jus­tice for Taytay!”

Oth­ers ex­pressed dis­be­lief that Boyd, who many de­scribed as a quiet young man, was gone.

“Af­ter he had his son, he really tried to get him­self to­gether,” said Boyd’s un­cle, Prinice Thomas, a 55-year-old Bal­ti­more man. “It’s not like he was in trou­ble or a bad guy.”

The in­ci­dent hap­pened at a time when po­lice na­tion­wide are un­der height­ened scru­tiny for in­ter­ac­tions with cit­i­zens, par­tic­u­larly in African-Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties. Pro­test­ers have been march­ing in Char­lotte, N.C., this week since the fa­tal po­lice shoot­ing of Keith La­mont Scott on Tues­day.

The Bal­ti­more County po­lice and fire de­part­ments are con­duct­ing an ad­min­is­tra­tive re­view of the Boyd in­ci­dent, and the state med­i­cal ex­am­iner will con­duct an au­topsy, county of­fi­cials said this week. A spokes­woman said there were no up­dates in the case Fri­day.

Po­lice said of­fi­cers were called to Boyd’s home about 3 a.m. Sun­day. Fam­ily mem­bers said Boyd had just re­turned from a late movie.

At the home, po­lice said, Boyd and his girl­friend, Deona Sty­ron, were yelling at each other. Sty­ron, who is preg­nant with Boyd’s sec­ond child, told of­fi­cers Boyd had been drink­ing and smok­ing mar­i­juana, po­lice said.

Po­lice said it was Boyd who called 911. When an of­fi­cer who ar­rived at the scene tried to speak with Boyd, he “started run­ning and scream­ing,” ac­cord­ing to a po­lice re­port. He then tried to get into a po­lice car. Of­fi­cers ran across the street to stop Boyd, who started yelling for some­one to call the po­lice, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

Three of­fi­cers tried to calm Boyd but could not, the re­port said, and they at­tempted to take him into cus­tody. An of­fi­cer grabbed Boyd’s arm, but po­lice said he pulled away. The of­fi­cers or­dered Boyd to get on the ground and put his hands be­hind his back, but po­lice said Boyd did not com­ply.

Po­lice then forced Boyd to the ground, but he “con­tin­ued to push, kick and flail,” then kicked two of­fi­cers, ac­cord­ing to po­lice. An of­fi­cer then struck Boyd twice in the face with a closed fist, the re­port said.

The po­lice re­port said of­fi­cers re­quested a medic for Boyd’s in­juries from the en­counter with po­lice. One medic ad­min­is­tered some­thing to Boyd, but the specifics of the treat­ment were redacted in the po­lice re­port.

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