A 21-year-old Baltimore man called 911 to request medical assistance on Wednesday, but he didn’t at all expect their response. Tawon Boyd called 9-1-1 after feeling disoriented and the call resulted in the African-American man being beaten and choked to death by police, but the situation has left people — especially his family — asking why.
Initial reports by the Baltimore County Police Department claim that Boyd’s girlfriend, Deona Styron, made the call and that there was “a female yelling in the background” saying “tell them to hurry up” — but Stryon disputed this claim, forcing police to update their narrative. Officers say that the man asked them to enter his home repeatedly and that he claimed Stryon “got him intoxicated and is secretly recording him while someone else is in the home.” The author of the police report described him as “confused and paranoid” and states that he tried to enter two police cars and ran to a neighbor’s house, banged on the door, and yelled “Help! Call the police!”
“It was obvious suspect Boyd was under the influence of a narcotic and/or suffering [REDACTED] and needed to be taken to the hospital for emergency evaluation,” the report says quite correctly — but police apparently decided to have some fun before that happened. By the time Boyd was loaded into an ambulance, he had an additional problem: multiple injuries imposed by those sworn to “serve and protect” him.
The report does not describe him as violent or threatening, but mentions that Boyd scratched the author’s neck and accidentally kicked an officer “while trying to stand” and that he grabbed an officer’s face, his hand slipping down to touch the cop’s badge and microphone, causing the officer to “deliver two closed fist strikes to the suspect’s face with his right fist” (Notice how quickly he went from being a person with a medical issue to “the suspect”).
The assault left Boyd “foaming at the mouth” and his body “limp” according to Stryon.
“He is literally attacked. And by attacked, I mean the witness [Styron] is describing that he [was] struck many times and struck to the ground,” Latoya Francis-Williams, a lawyer for Boyd’s family, says\, noting that the violence was much worse than officers were willing to admit in their report:
“Officer Bowman is the one that when he arrived, really started wailing on Mr Boyd, meaning Mr Boyd was on the ground in a prone position and Bowman sat on him, almost straddled his back, and put his left arm under Boyd’s neck and pulled his head up in a choking fashion.”
“I kept telling them stop before they hurt him because I told them they could kill him like that,” says Boyd’s grandmother Linda Burch, who tried to stop the assault. “They told me to go across the street before they lock me up.”
According to witnesses, three of Boyd’s last words were “I can’t breathe” — a term anyone who cares about African-American rights knows all too well.
An autopsy is yet to be released, but Francis-Williams says that there was “swelling on the brain and fluid on the brain because the doctors attempted to drain that” and that Boyd’s kidneys failed at one point, and that his heart stopped.
“They really were supposed to be there to get him to the nearest healthcare facility,” Francis-Williams says, but these officers did not do that. They did what they always seem to do when they encounter an African-American man: unleashed their own special brand of justice that ends with their victim in a body bag.
“Mr. Boyd was in need of medical attention, and the police responded with violence,” says Francis-Williams. “The police beat him into intensive care, and now he’s no longer with us.”
Watch a report on the attack below:
Featured image via screengrab