The mother of a man serving life in prison has filed a lawsuit claiming correctional officers brutally beat her son so mercilessly, it caused him to kill himself.
Darlene McDay, mom of Dante Taylor, says two sergeants and two correctional officers at Wende Correctional Facility outside of Buffalo, New York, allegedly beat her son with their batons before hog-tying his arms and legs and throwing him down a flight of stairs in 2017, according to an article in The New York Daily News.
The personnel were identified in the lawsuit as Sgt. Scott Lambert, Sgt. Timothy Lewalski, Corrections Officer Melvin Maldonado and Corrections Officer McDonald, according to the newspaper.
Twelve hours after the alleged Oct. 6, 2017 beating, Taylor, 22, hanged himself in his cell, his mom claims in her suit.
“These officers, they’re public servants. They don’t have the right to inflict punishment on people. They don’t have the right to decide that somebody should be punished or abused or brutalized,” McDay told the Daily News.
McDay, 43, included photographs of Taylor’s badly bruised face in her lawsuit, although she told the newspaper that she still can’t look at the photos.
“I’m afraid if I actually see (the photos) that I just won’t be able to keep going,” McDay said. “I’m afraid if I looked at it that I just wouldn’t be able to deal with it.”
In 2014, Taylor was convicted of raping and murdering Sarah Goode, a 21-year-old mother in Mastic, L.I. Taylor was found guilty of raping Goode, stabbing her to death and leaving her nearly naked body in a wooded area. Taylor was appealing the verdict, alleging prosecutorial misconduct at the time he took his life.
Regardless, Taylor’s conviction didn’t justify his mistreatment by law enforcement authorities, McDay says in her lawsuit.
“He was a human being as well,” she said.
Yet McDay said the moment her son was sent to Wende, he became a target of one correctional officer, whom she alleged starved him and kept him from taking showers. That unnamed officer reportedly also told other staffers that Taylor was a snitch.
McDay seeks unspecified damages for excessive force, wrongful death, and medical malpractice. This last charge stems from her complaint that medical staffers who treated Taylor after the Oct. 2017 beating never reported anything about his injuries to her or authorities.
McDay said she learned of Taylor’s injuries from inmates who called to tell her guards had beaten him and urged her to look into it.
Prison records described Taylor’s bruises as self-inflicted, claiming he banged his head against a wall, according to the lawsuit.
“They’re liars,” McDay said.