‘We want the truth’: Family searches for answers after Duval inmate died following fight with guards

A death certificate provided by Daniel Taylor’s family listed the manner of death as homicide

Jacksonville man who died after an altercation with officers at the Duval County jail in August

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville man who died after an altercation with officers at the Duval County jail in August has been identified as Daniel Taylor.

A death certificate provided by Taylor’s family listed the manner of death as homicide.

Taylor, 30, was accused of trespassing at the Omni Hotel and was arrested Aug. 13 on a misdemeanor charge. According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, he went to his first scheduled court appearance and was scheduled to be released the same day but was told he had to return to his cell to wait for the discharge process.

JSO said he did not want to go back to the cell and that there was a physical altercation in which a corrections officer was bitten and the man suffered self-inflicted injuries. Police said the man was subdued, became unresponsive and was taken to a hospital where he died several days later.

One autopsy has been done, and the state attorney’s office has requested a second autopsy, which it does in complex cases.

“He had a really big heart. You know, he had a really fierce love for his family,” said Taylor’s sister Noel Taylor.

Eight months later, Noel Taylor is still trying to make sense of the death of her brother.

“It’s really hard to wrap your head around that somebody who, you know, he was custody, but I think that there’s a reasonable expectation that he would have been, you know, safe and not end up in a state where, you know, he goes from a misdemeanor trespassing offense to brain dead,” she said.

According to JSO, Taylor was arrested without incident and charged with trespassing at the Omni hotel downtown around 3 a.m. on August 13. He was taken to jail rather than released with a notice to appear because of a previous arrest.

According to an incident report, Taylor refused and “became combative.” At least one other officer responded and the report says Taylor bit one of them. He was charged with battery on an officer and two counts of resisting an officer with violence.

Taylor’s sister said police told her he was given the sedative Ketamine and that her brother was restrained by around 10 officers. An eyewitness told WJCT days after the incident that at least 10 officers were involved in restraining and beating Taylor.

“The hospital staff said that Daniel arrived at the hospital, intubated already,” Noel Taylor said.

Noel Taylor said a week later, her brother was found to be essentially brain dead. The family decided to take him off the ventilator.

A death certificate provided by the family lists the cause of death as lack of oxygen to the brain because of an irregular heartbeat following a violent physical altercation.

“We want to understand how it got to the point that he ended up how he was,” Noel Taylor said. “We want the truth.”

News4JAX has requested the jail surveillance video, which the JSO Cold Case unit has viewed, from the Sheriff’s Office and any use of force reports that might have been referred to the Response to Resistance Board.

JSO policy states anytime an officer uses force, they have to file a report… we have requested the report for this instance. But a records clerk told WJCT and the Times Union such a report for the incident with Taylor doesn’t exist.

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