Jayshawn Boyd, a 22-year-old inmate at Essex County Correctional Facility, was the victim of a brutal attack in jail in September.
On Monday, his attorneys released disturbing video footage of the attack, in which seven inmates appear to beat Boyd with a microwave oven, a multi-gallon water cooler, and a mop — even after the 22-year-old seems to lose consciousness — while guards apparently do nothing to intervene.
The attack sent Boyd into a coma, from which he is still recovering two months later, his legal team said.
The suspects are reportedly facing attempted murder charges, and lawyers for Boyd are filing suit against Essex County officials, who they argue placed the 22-year-old in harm’s way and did little to stop the horrifying assault.
WARNING: there are graphic depictions of violence below that may be disturbing to some readers.
Video Shows Jayshawn Boyd Attack in Jail
The video, which lawyers said was sent anonymously to Jayshawn Boyd’s family in nearby Elizabeth, appears to show a group of inmates attacking the 22-year-old in a common area, seemingly out of the blue on Sept. 23.
The clip begins just as the inmates corner Boyd, punching and kicking him until he falls to the ground. The 22-year-old appears to lose consciousness less than 30 second into the two-minute beating.
The inmates then appear to disperse, but a few return with makeshift weapons to continue the assault. One man appears to hit Boyd’s head with a push broom, while another throws a mop bucket at him, dousing the 22-year-old with a cleaning solution.
Boyd, still apparently unconscious, doesn’t shield his head or face from the repeated blows.
The video becomes even more disturbing, as inmates appear to search for larger and larger objects to throw at Boyd. One man throws a trash can, another throws a water cooler, and a third walks into frame holding a microwave oven, which he and another inmate take turns dropping on the unconscious 22-year-old’s head.
Just before the video ends, one inmate returns with the push broom, hitting it over Boyd’s head until it breaks.
At no point in the video are correctional guards visible, and the attack proceeds uninterrupted until the inmates appear to lose interest.
Boyd’s Lawyers Say Jail Guards Stood By
Brooke Barnett, the Newark attorney representing Jayshawn Boyd and his family, told reporters that the 22-year-old was previously diagnosed with schizophrenia.
He was in custody at the Essex County jail for missing a court appearance that stemmed from a domestic incident reportedly involving his mother and sibling. Those charges have since been dropped, as the 22-year-old’s prognosis is uncertain following the brutal attack.
“He’s got a long road ahead of him,” Barnett told NJ.com. “It’s too early for me to say what long term damage he’s going to have,” she said, adding that Boyd is “coming out of the coma” but still unable to speak.
The lawyer said that Essex County officials are partially responsible for the assault, because they placed Boyd in a cell block meant for inmates with gang affiliations.
“Clearly this is a human rights violation, a civil rights violation,” she told the outlet. “This is clearly a failure to protect. This kid suffered from mental health issues. He had no business going into a gang unit, he’s never been in a gang in his life.”
What’s more, Barnett said, jail officials allegedly “entered several falsehoods on Jayshawn’s psychiatric intake questionnaire,” including “denying that he had ever undergone psychiatric treatment or that he had a history of aggressive behavior” and “labeling him a ‘low’ mental health priority.”
“We contend that everything about this attack, including a complete lack of transparency in its wake, hints at a much larger storm of failures, arising from motives ranging from gross negligence to active malice,” her firm wrote in a statement.
Seven Suspects Charged in Jailhouse Beating
The video does not show what occurred in the lead-up to the attack, and Barnett and her firm have not offered a possible explanation for the brutal assault. Boyd was reportedly being held in the unit since Sept. 9, two weeks before he was beaten into a coma.
Essex County officials have declined to comment on the matter, telling NJ.com that both the attack and the release of the video are under investigation.
The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said seven inmates have been charged in connection with the attack — Byad Lockett, Darryl Watson, Isaad Jackson, Tyshon Armour, Henry Asencio, Jaquil Anderson and Maurice Hutchins.
The group were charged in October with attempted murder, aggravated assault, and rioting in the third degree, according to the New York Post. All seven men are awaiting grand jury hearings, and all of them are still in custody at the Essex County Correctional Facility, according to online jail records.