Horrible footage has emerged after a healthcare worker was captured on video using a belt on a disabled patient. And, just when you think it can’t get worse, it does. This is totally unacceptable and something everyone needs to see – pass this on if you agree.
Joey Cason, a 55-year-old mentally disabled man, was admitted to Total Care, a facility for the developmentally disabled, providing care to about 16 patients in Gordan, Georgia. Unable to care for their loved one at home, Cason’s family thought he was in good hands at the licensed care home.
Instead, they found themselves in the middle of litigation against the facility after video footage revealed how Cason was being treated by the staff. Captured in jaw-dropping surveillance video, Cason is seen being repeatedly beaten with a belt by an employee.
As he raises his hands in a futile attempt to protect himself, the woman raises the belt above her head, bringing it down on the man with all her might. She then pulls Cason’s hands away was from his face, continuing to deliver blow after blow until he crumbles to the floor.
In addition to being struck with a belt over 30 times, Joey Cason is also slapped and even punched in the face by the staff, who was hired to care for him. Making matters worse, it wasn’t just one employee who engaged in horrendous abuse against the disabled men. At least five employees at the mental health facility beat him, an investigation found. But, that’s not all.
Joey Cason was not only beaten by multiple staff members but the employees allowed other patients to join in. At one point, the staff also appear to taunt Cason with food and laugh at him. But, what’s worst of all is that no one even tried to hide the mistreatment as it took place out in the open.
In the clip, all of his caregivers seem unphased by the inappropriate abuse taking place, with some even captured smiling brightly as Cason is subjected to torture. Not one person stepped up to stop the violent onslaught. Instead, they seemed to enjoy it.
“I think anybody would find the video despicable,” said Brian Jarrad, the family’s attorney, revealing that the cameras inside the facility recorded one of the worst cases of abuse he has ever seen. “It was heartbreaking. It made me angry to think of individuals who were being paid to care for him were engaged in just despicable abuse.”
Although the incident took place in 2013, the video of Cason’s abuse was never released to the media at the time. The family, however, pushed to have the footage released to the public many years later, hoping to warn others about the neglect and abuse happening at facilities across Georgia — and possibly all across the country. Be forewarned, it’s very difficult to watch.
“These are some of our most weakest, our most vulnerable citizens. So, it’s important to know and watch and to see when they’re not being cared for appropriately,” Attorney Jarrad said. “Physically, [Joey Cason] is not disabled. He is able to function physically, but he is severely mentally disabled.”
Shakia Smith, a caretaker, was charged with battery and abuse/neglect of an elder person by the Gordon Police, but a case against the former facility owner, Pamela Reaves, was still pending when 11 Alive received the video footage and spoke with the family’s attorney regarding the incident. Reaves declined to comment, and her attorney, Wayne Kendall, did not respond to questions the news outlet sent via email.
Joey Cason was placed in a different facility in south Georgia, where he was reportedly doing well. Meanwhile, the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities revoked Total Care’s license after an investigation uncovered even more abuse, including reports that other patients had blackened eyes and broken arms. The facility was eventually closed amid abuse complaints, but that hardly seems like enough, all things considered.
The report has interviews from patients with visible bruising and welts. One patient had red marks on her nose, bruising on her back, and red marks on her arm, elbow and shoulders. There are also allegations of a staff member engaging in sexual misconduct with a patient. …
Video evidence show staff members conducting abuse:
- Owens Pearson slapped a patient in the face and “hit him repeatedly with a closed hand.”
- Shakia Smith slapped a patient in the face and “hit him repeatedly with a belt” about 18 times throughout the day.
- Amber Coverson hit a patient on the back of the head.
- Audrey Ray attempted to kick a patient.
- Rodrekais Mosley picked up a patient and “pushed him over a desk.”
Those five are also included in neglect charges, along with five others:
- Shamiria Bivins
- Taketia Kline
- Latroy Coats
- Jaderemy Robinson
- Joe Thomas
Those staff members all witnessed abuse but did not stop or report it, the report says.
The video was released as Georgia sought to end nearly 10 years of federal supervision of its mental health care services. With investigations uncovering a rise in abuse, neglect, and exploitation at state-licensed mental health care providers, however, it certainly doesn’t seem like less scrutiny is the answer.
As Brian Jarrad said, patients like Joey Cason are some of the most vulnerable citizens among us. They depend on others to look out for them. What’s more, they depend on others to be their voice and advocate for them when they can’t do it themselves.
It’s up to us to let others know what can and, sadly, does happen. Then, we must demand better, letting those who work in healthcare and mental health know that we won’t turn a blind eye to abuse. Instead, an example must be set, holding these facilities and their employees accountable to the fullest extent of the law.