The family of Janard Geffrard, a Florida inmate who was beaten to death by his cellmate, is asking for answers as to why the beating went so long without intervention from deputies.
On Dec. 16, 29-year-old Geffrard was seen on surveillance video being choked by his cellmate, Kevin Barnes. The choking lasted two minutes, according to a letter sent to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office from county public defender Gordon Weekes. The attorney said the choking was followed by 10 minutes of Barnes violently stomping Geffrard into the g. The beating in total lasted 21 minutes, the attorney wrote, and no deputy was seen in the footage intervening.
It’s unclear when exactly the jail officers responded to the incident.
The report stated that Barnes told detectives the reason he attacked Geffrard was because he “never cleaned himself” and that Geffrard being a gay man “upset him.” As a result of the incident, Geffrard suffered a fractured rib, fractured sternum and pulmonary bruising which led him to be declared brain dead ten days after the beating, per Weekes’ letter.
Geffrard was sustained on life support so his organs could be donated, per Local 10 News. He died five days later.
Weekes raised a few concerns in regards to the incident. First, he noted that Geffrard had been beaten and unconscious for a long period of time before anyone noticed to intervene. He also told Local 10 that both Barnes and Geffrard suffered from mental illness, calling into question why they were placed in the same cell.
“BSO’s Internal Affairs Unit has an open and active administrative investigation into the incident, and two BSO employees, a detention deputy and a detention technician, are currently on administrative investigative leave with pay,” said the sheriff’s office in a statement to Local 10 News.
It’s unclear whether Geffrard’s family plans to take legal action, but Weekes affirmed Geffrard’s Eighth Amendment protection from cruel and unusual punishment was put in jeopardy as well as his rights under the Prison Rape Elimination Act that protects LGBT inmates from victimization inside detention centers.
The attorney also demanded the release of the surveillance video and called on the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division to do a thorough probe of the jail’s conditions, per CBS.