A Norwalk jury awarded $30 million to the mother of a 6-year-old Downey boy who died in 2019 after being beaten by a former Los Angeles Unified School District employee.
Dayvon Taylor died the day after Christmas while under the care of 23-year-old Martin Brand, whom Dayvon’s mother met because he was a coach at Normandie Middle School and who was the child’s godfather.
“My son didn’t deserve to die at all. He was a happy child,” Kenya Taylor said.
On Dec. 26, 2019, Dayvon was taken to a hospital to be treated for injuries sustained during a brutal beating allegedly at the hands of Brand. Hours later, he died.
In 2022, Brand pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in the boy’s death and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.
This month, a jury reached a unanimous verdict: $30 million in compensation for the victim’s family.
Despite the fact that the school didn’t allow employees to care for children outside of class, Brand offered his services to parents like Taylor, who thought the man was fit and qualified to care for children.
“Under that trust, she allowed him to babysit her son for just a few hours, trusting that her son was under the care of someone who had been adequately vetted by LAUSD,” attorney Steve Vartazarian said.
The family lawyer said the way the district hired Brand and other employees was negligent.
“There was no in-person interview, there were no reference checks and there was no type of employment history verification,” Vartazarian said.
Brand had a history of acting aggressively and didn’t have experience in childhood education.
Through a spokesperson, the LAUSD said in a statement: “What happened is deeply tragic. Our thoughts are with the family during this extremely difficult time, no family should ever have to experience this. While this tragedy happened off campus and during a holiday break, the safety and well-being of all students remains Los Angeles Unified’s top priority. Regarding the jury verdict in this legal matter, Los Angeles Unified intends to consider all available options.”
“There need to be background checks, anything to make sure that our kids are OK,” Taylor said.
Source: NBC Los Angeles