Family of man who committed suicide inside Wende Correctional Facility is suing

Erie County

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The mother and grandmother of a man who committed suicide inside Wende Correctional Facility are suing the superintendent, prison supervisors and employees who were working there in Oct. 2017.

Dante Taylor was 22 when he killed himself inside the facility in the Town of Alden, according to the lawsuit filed this week in Buffalo’s U.S. District Court.

The 47-page civil rights lawsuit accuses corrections officers of beating Taylor on the night of his death and also levels that personnel failed to initiate appropriate suicide prevention measures.

“We extensively investigated the case,” said Katie Rosenfeld, the attorney for Taylor’s family. “We have medical records, internal investigation records, and witnesses.”

Taylor was convicted in the brutal 2014 murder of Sarah Goode, a Long Island mother.

“She was just a beautiful girl,” Goode’s mother Elizabeth said after Taylor’s sentencing.

Through the lawsuit she filed, Rosenfeld indicated Taylor had civil rights that were violated while he was at Wende.

“It’s a famous saying that the measure of a society is how we treat our prisoners,” she said.

The lawsuit says there were several factors that should have been caught, such as prior suicide attempts, and Taylor’s discharge from Marines. Leading up to his death, Taylor was divorced, had a major death in the family, and spent four months in solitary confinement, the suit alleges.

Taylor had a negative reaction from using synthetic marijuana two days prior, says the suit, which says he was put on suicide watch but sent back to his cell the next morning. Another negative drug reaction the night before his death led to his alleged beating, and he was not placed on suicide watch, the suit alleges.

A spokesperson for the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, which operates Wende, says the department has not yet been served with the lawsuit. He added they do not comment on pending litigation.

Meanwhile, the state’s Commission of Corrections says DOCCS reported Taylor’s death to their office, as required. The commission’s investigation into that incident is ongoing.

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