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Los Angeles Unified School District Hit With Wrongful Death Lawsuit After 6-Year-Old Boy Killed

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The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has been named in a wrongful death lawsuit after a December 2019 killing of a 6-year-old boy, John Doe. A former LAUSD employee, Tyler D’Shaun Martin-Brand of Downey, California, was also named in the lawsuit filed by Wilshire Law Firm in Los Angeles.

The wrongful death suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that Martin-Brand beat the boy to death and that the school district is therefore liable due to committing negligence in their hiring, training, and retention of the former employee. Martin-Brand previously coached sports and supervised other activities through the “Beyond the Bell” after-school program at Normandie Avenue Elementary School.

In January, ABC 7 reported that Martin-Brand had become a family friend, but the family indicated that he had hit the child on previous occasions as a form of discipline.

“I don’t know how this man was able to work with children and do what he has done to my nephew,” said Virginia Sewell, the victim’s great aunt. “Justice needs to be served.”

Daniel DeSantis, Esq., Senior Trial Attorney at Wilshire Law Firm, is representing the deceased child’s mother in the wrongful death case.

“LAUSD has a responsibility to ensure that their employees are suitable and can be trusted around children,” DeSantis said. “Their oversight in employing an individual who is capable of such a heinous act is completely unacceptable. While nothing can ever fill the void that my client now experiences in her life, she deserves to be compensated for the unimaginable loss she has suffered.”

Following the murder, LAUSD said Martin-Brand was no longer employed by the school district and they were unaware he had continued contact with Dayvon and his mother.

“Los Angeles Unified will conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine the extent to which Mr. Martin-Brand violated our policy pertaining to non-school-hour access and association with students,” LAUSD said in a statement earlier this year.

In January, ABC 7 reported that additional people were coming forward with complaints that Martin-Brand was allegedly violent with their children.

“We want to know why he was still allowed to work at school and why wasn’t those incidents of violence reported by school administrators,” said Najee Ali of Project Islamic Hope.

The complaint states that Martin-Brand regularly spent time in isolation with the boy, removing him from other students and school employees on several occasions. Additionally, the complaint alleges that the school district knew or should have known about Martin-Brand’s abusive conduct against children, and it failed to prevent the student’s death by not implementing appropriate safety measures.

According to a statement released by Wilshire Law Firm, the boy’s mother is seeking damages “on a number of grounds, including wrongful death, for funeral and burial expenses, and the loss of [John Doe’s] love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, and moral support.”