Family of man killed in prison hauls the AG and Police Commissioner to court claiming they are liable for his death

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

SOURCE- OBSERVER NEWSCO-The sister and the son of murdered detainee, Leroy Caesar is suing the Commissioner of Police and by extension the Office of the Attorney General for negligence, which they believe led to the death of their family member.

The duo argue that Caesar should not have been placed in the same cell with another inmate who was known to have mental issues.

The 64-year-old died in the custody of law enforcement on December 29th, 2021 after getting into a scuffle with prisoner Ziggy Beazer, who shortly after the altercation was deemed “unfit to stand trial” because of mental health reasons.

Caesar’s cause of death was listed as multiple trauma with bilateral rib fractures, penetrating lung injuries, hemothorax, penetrating liver injuries and hemoperitoneum which means that he had multiple internal injuries.

The deceased man’s sister, Iris Browne and his son, Elvis Caesar said that like Beazer, Caesar had also been diagnosed with a mental disorder and had been a known patient at the Clarevue Psychiatric Hospital since October 2000.

A hospital report submitted to the court on February 1st, 2022, described Caesar’s condition as “schizoaffective disorder” which is a mental health disorder that is marked by a combination of schizophrenia symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions, and mood disorder symptoms, such as depression or mania.

The report stated that the man had a “long history of non-compliance with treatment over the years”.

Meanwhile, the man who allegedly killed Caesar was also diagnosed with a “major psychiatric illness, Schizophrenia”.

An earlier report on Beazer’s condition dated June 28th, 2019, concluded that he was “not mentally competent or fit to plea” at the time he was remanded for the death of another man.

According to the report by consultant psychiatrist, Dr Griffin Benjamin, recommendations were presented to initiate medication treatment in an attempt to stabilise Beazer’s mental functions and “arrive at the point of mental competence”. But he only received medication treatment one year later in May 2019 following a new court order on May 27, 2019.

“He manifested gross psychotic features of paranoid delusions, auditory and visual hallucinations and gross disorganisation of his behaviour and speech,” the report read.

Again, on January 18th, 2021, Dr Philmore Benjamin said he gave the impression of being mentally ill, having been brought in by his family for evaluation.

It is on that premise that the family of Leroy Caesar has applied to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) seeking damages relating to various costs incurred as well as compensation for his funeral expenses.

They are accusing the police of failing to acknowledge the “obvious risk” of detaining whom their attorney Wendel Robinson described as “two known lunatics” in the same cell; as well failing to take the necessary precautions to keep the two men separated despite a similar situation which occurred at the St John’s Police Station earlier that year.

The police, they are claiming, also failed to notify Caesar’s family of his detention and that their action or inaction, directly resulted in the incident and ultimately the death of the 64-year-old man.

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