FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The family of a mentally ill inmate who died after an altercation with Broward County detention officers in 2021 gathered in front of Broward County commissioners Tuesday, asking them to push BSO and the courts to release video of the incident to the public.
“We’re asking the commission to take a stand with us and state that BSO needs to turn over the video of Kevin Desir’s death,” Jeremy McLymont, the attorney representing Desir’s family, said.
The pleas come days after the sheriff’s office concluded its investigation into the death of 43-year-old Kevin Lavira Desir, determining its employees committed no wrongdoing in Desir’s death.
“492 days ago, our beloved brother Kevin Desir was taken away, lifeless, from the North Broward Bureau Center,” Kevin Desir’s brother, Mike, said. “For 492 days, our family has been seeking answers.”
Desir ended up in that facility after Coral Springs police arrested him in January 2021 on drug possession and criminal mischief charges.
Just 4 days after his arrest, Desir cut himself and BSO records said when deputies tried to remove him from his cell, he became violent and bit a deputy, kicking and spitting.
The report says when deputies got him into a restraint chair, he became unresponsive and died days later at the hospital.
“He was having a severe mental health episode and the officers, while he was in handcuffs, kicked him, beat him, tased him, and ultimately left him brain dead and he experienced cardiac arrest,” Marq Mitchell, the executive director of Chainless Change, a South Florida advocacy group, said.
Following the release of the BSO report Thursday, Sheriff Gregory Tony expressed condolences to Desir’s family.
“Even though the internal and independent investigations conducted by BSO, the Medical Examiner’s Office and State Attorney’s Office determined no employee caused Kevin Desir’s death or violated any policy, it doesn’t negate the great loss felt by his family and friends,” Tony said.
Desir’s family, however, believes the report is a cover-up.
“I feel that they shouldn’t be allowed to investigate themselves in the first place,” Mike Desir said. “They’re policing themselves and there’s no accountability being held.”
In February, a judge said video from the jail could be released, but only to the Desir family’s attorneys.
Desir’s family says if the Sheriff’s office believes there was no wrongdoing, they should release the full video to the public and want an outside organization to investigate.