BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — An attorney representing a Buffalo man serving time for murder has filed a notice of claim against the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
Mark Overall, who is representing 27-year-old Leonard Robinson and his family, alleges that Robinson was nearly beaten to death by 12 to 15 correctional officers at Elmira Correctional Facility earlier this month. The attorney says they have identified the names of several officers they believe were involved and will release them at a later time.
At the time of the alleged incident, Robinson was serving 18 years to life for the murder of 42-year-old Antoin Vance, who was fatally shot inside his Purdy Street home in November 2015. The Erie County District Attorney’s office said the shooting occurred “with an illegal pistol after an argument over money.”
The notice of claim alleges that Robinson was beaten on the night of Oct. 3 before being taken to a hospital in Elmira. Additionally, the claim accused DOCCS of trying to hide and conceal evidence of the alleged attack, as well as keeping information on Robinson’s health from his mother.
“The Department does not comment on pending litigation,” DOCCS told News 4 when asked for comment.
Robinson’s mother, Dorothy Richardson, said Friday that her son was beaten from 9 to 11 p.m. and suffered several severe injuries.
“They beat him for two hours, tortured him,” Richardson said. “He got a broken jaw, broken ribs, handcuffs, they put him in a tub, choked him, told him if he told somebody they’d kill him. That’s a hate crime to me.”
Richardson added that her son is diabetic and has not received his medication at proper times.
“Leonard Neal Robinson was either denied proper medical treatment and/or any such medical care that was offered was significantly delayed,” the notice of claim alleges.
“I want justice for my son,” Richardson said. “I can justify what he did, why he’s in prison, but I won’t justify how these COs abuse him and torture him like a dog.”
The claim additionally says “requests for information have been met with additional threats of violence against Leonard Neal Robinson.”
Since the incident, Overall says Robinson has been moved from the Elmira facility to Auburn Correctional Facility.
“At this point, we request that Leonard Neal Robinson be actively and intentionally placed in areas where he is free from additional violence from ANY staff or inmates, that his continued access to appropriate medical care not be subjected to any future obstructions, impediments, or delays, and that he and his family be appropriately compensated for nearly losing his life,” the notice of claim says.
Pastor James Giles said that despite of being convicted of a crime, Robinson is still entitled to medical care and safety. He added that those involved should be held responsible just as Robinson was held accountable for his crime.
“Now we’re here at this place,” said Giles. “In hopes of someone looking into this, to investigate not only the officers that are responsible for such treatment of an individual in custody, which also means that they are also in their care and supposed to be taken care of not brutally beating them to the level that they have beat this young man.”
Overall said there is not a designated amount sought for compensation right now, since it is unclear how long it will take Robinson to recover.