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Gay Black father left for dead after 20-minute beating in jail cell – now the family wants answers

Author: Donald Padgett

A gay Black inmate in Florida struggling with mental health issues was left clinically brain dead after a beating by his cellmate last month, and his family now wants answers from authorities.

Janard Geffrard, 29, was found in his cell at Broward County jail in Fort Lauderdale on December 16 nonresponsive and suffering from a fractured left rib, a fractured sternum, and pulmonary bruising, according to court documents seen by local ABC affiliate WPLG. His cellmate, Kevin Barnes, 35, allegedly waived his Miranda rights and confessed that he choked, kicked, and beat Geffrard because he was gay and smelled from poor hygiene.

Detective Kristina Luna wrote in her report that Barnes admitted to placing Geffrard in a chokehold for approximately two minutes and later kicking and stomping his limp body as it lay prone on the ground. He also reportedly held Geffrard’s face in the water in their shared toilet.

Geffrard was not discovered for over 20 minutes. He was eventually taken to a local hospital where he was declared clinically brain dead.

When told that Geffrard was in critical condition from the attack, Barnes reportedly responded that “he got what he deserved.”

Investigating officers reported the duration of the attack was caught on video, although Barnes and Geffrard were not fully in the video at all times. Both men suffer from mental health issues and were both found mentally incompetent by the courts. Now Geffrard’s family wants to know why he was left alone in his cell with Barnes for so long while the attack was being recorded live for guards.

“The news of his death was obviously a complete shock to the family,” Josiah Graham, an attorney who represents Geffrard’s family, told ABC News. Graham added that Geffrard had a 10-year-old son.

Marcia Irving, Geffrard’s grandmother, told WPLG she had believed he was safer in custody than on the streets, but now she just wants answers to how he could have been beaten to near death with nobody stopping the attack.

“Somebody beat my kid up real bad, and then he kept doing it, he kept after he was out,” Irving told WPLG.

Broward County Public Defender Gordon Weekes also wants answers and sent a letter to Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony about the attack. He told the Miami Herald there is a pattern of questionable deaths in Broward County jails over the past several years.

“Otherwise healthy individuals are finding themselves dying or being neglected medically in the jail,” Weekes told the paper. “It has to come to an end.”

Two guards have reportedly been placed on paid leave while the incident is further investigated. Barnes has been charged with multiple offenses related to the attack, including attempted murder.

Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Donald Padgett

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