Mother of Slain 6-Year-Old Downey Boy Awarded $30 Million in Landmark Verdict Against LAUSD Employee

NORWALK, Calif. – A jury in Norwalk has awarded $30 million to the mother of a 6-year-old boy from Downey who died in 2019 after being beaten by a former Los Angeles Unified School District employee. Dayvon Taylor lost his life the day after Christmas while under the care of Martin Brand, a former coach at Normandie Middle School and the child’s godfather.

Kenya Taylor, Dayvon’s mother, expressed her grief, stating, “My son didn’t deserve to die at all. He was a happy child.” The tragic incident occurred after Dayvon was taken to the hospital on December 26, 2019, to receive treatment for injuries sustained during a brutal beating allegedly inflicted by Brand. Unfortunately, Dayvon succumbed to his injuries within hours.

Brand pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in 2022 and was subsequently sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for the boy’s death. Following this, a jury recently reached a unanimous verdict, awarding $30 million in compensation to the victim’s family.

Despite the school’s policy prohibiting employees from caring for children outside of classes, Brand offered his services to parents like Kenya Taylor, who believed him to be a trustworthy individual capable of looking after children. Taylor’s attorney, Steve Vartazarian, highlighted the negligence in the district’s hiring practices, emphasizing the lack of in-person interviews, reference checks, and employment history verification.

Brand’s history of aggressive behavior and lack of experience in childhood education further underscored the negligence in the hiring process. Vartazarian argued that background checks and other measures ensuring the safety of children should be implemented.

The Los Angeles Unified School District expressed its condolences to the family in a statement, calling the incident deeply tragic and stating that the safety and well-being of all students remain their top priority. The district also noted that it would consider all available options regarding the jury’s verdict.

The jury’s decision serves as a reminder of the importance of thorough background checks and proper vetting procedures when hiring individuals responsible for the care of children. No family should have to bear the loss and pain experienced by the Taylor family.

In summary, a jury in Norwalk, California, has awarded $30 million to the mother of a 6-year-old boy who died after being beaten by a former Los Angeles Unified School District employee. The jury’s unanimous verdict follows the employee’s admission of guilt and his subsequent sentencing. This tragedy highlights the need for improved hiring practices to ensure the safety and well-being of children under the care of school employees.