An Open Letter to Sheriff Gregory Tony | LETTER

OutSFL file photo.

I hereby urge you to engage and implement outside oversight as it pertains to abuse, medical neglect, and conditions of confinement within the jails of Broward County, Florida. Vulnerable populations have been repeatedly overlooked and forced to suffer in the jails, which raises concerns about the culture and climate of this facility.

On December 16, 2023, a mere week before Christmas, Mr. Geffrard was allegedly choked and stomped on by his cellmate due to his sexual orientation. Mr. Geffrard sustained lifethreatening injuries which included a fractured rib, fractured sternum, and pulmonary bruising. As a result of the attack, he was transported to Broward General in critical condition and placed on life support. Mr. Geffrard succumbed to his injuries and was declared brain-dead on Dec. 26, 2023. As of the writing of this letter, Mr. Geffrard is being sustained on life support as an organ donor, pursuant to the wishes of his family to help save the life of another.

Individuals held in detention have a right to be safe from violence by other inmates, staff, and detention deputies. This right originates in the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which protects against cruel and unusual punishment. These rights were further delineated when the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA Act) was enacted into law by Congress in 2003.

The PREA Act applies to all public and private institutions that house offenders. The goal of the PREA Act is to ensure lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people are afforded a safe environment and are not placed at a greater risk of victimization while in jail.

Even though the entirety of the attack was captured on video, no deputy intervened. Video surveillance is intended to protect inmates from the brutality of a beating or to reduce the likelihood of injury. When properly utilized, video monitoring can alert detention deputies to respond timely and diffuse an altercation. However, for video monitoring to be effective deputies must actually monitor the video feed.

It is also important to note that this violent beating lasted {21) twenty-one minutes. Mr. Geffrard was allegedly placed in a stranglehold by his cellmate. He was unconscious without medical attention for a prolonged period. He was then allegedly stomped on head and upper torso wherein he sustained additional injuries. Thus, an otherwise healthy individual was beaten and choked to death without any intervention on the behalf of duties.

In previous letters regarding inmate deaths, I have expressed the need for enhanced crisis intervention training; a comprehensive review of policies and procedures in reference to inmate safety and abuse; and heightening levels of deputy supervision to ensure safety, too which all have fell on deaf ears. Given the prolonged lapse in time before deputies discovered Mr. Geffrard, your video monitoring policy and deputy response times must be reassessed. I would also urge you to review your staffing allotment during the holidays. Understaffing and holiday shortages are no excuse for the loss of life.

I have repeatedly urged for greater transparency surrounding inmate deaths or serious injury within jail facilities, particularly when involving seemingly healthy individuals. I am demanding the release of video surveillance footage of this incident. This can be readily accomplished by redacting the video to exclude security systems so as not to compromise safety of the facility.

More importantly, the grieving family who are suffering this emotional hardship deserve the dignity, respect, and opportunity to also view the video footage so they can find closure and comfort in their loss. Great lengths have been taken in other instances of loss to ensure families were granted access, as well should in this matter.

Thank you kindly for your immediate attention to this matter.


Gordon Weekes, Public Defender


Phone: 954-514-7095
Hours: Monday - Friday 9AM - 2PM


2520 N. Dixie Highway,
Wilton Manors, FL 33305



Got a juicy lead or story idea? Let us know!



Out South Florida

Hello from OutSFL! We hope you'll consider donating to us. Starting a business can be a scary prospect, but with your support so far, we've had tremendous success. Thank you!

donate button