Three workers at an assisted living facility in North Carolina were arrested after police say they turned elderly residents with dementia into their own personal fight club.
Marilyn Latish McKey, 32, Tonacia Yvonne Tyson, 20, and Taneshia Deshawn Jordan, 26, were arrested and charged with assault on an individual with a disability earlier this month, Winston-Salem Police Department told HuffPost.
McKey was charged with two counts, while Tyson and Jordan were charged with one, authorities say.
Police received a tip in June about elder abuse at Winston-Salem’s Danby House — which specializes in caring for Alzheimer’s patients, per its site. Police investigators worked with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on the accusation.
According to documents sent to HuffPost from NCDHHS, the three employees who worked at the Danby House allegedly encouraged the residents in its “Special Care Unit” to physically fight one another. The employees also egged the residents on while filming the incidents. One of the workers also forcefully shoved a resident.
In one incident, two residents with dementia, referred to as Resident 8 and Resident 9 in documents, began fighting in Resident 8’s room as three health care workers — identified by authorities as Tyson, McKey and Jordan —watched and recorded it on a phone.
During the fight, the residents fell on the bed, and Resident 9 continued to hit Resident 8. In a cell phone video obtained by authorities, Resident 8 is heard yelling, “Let go, help me, help me, let go” as the staff members continue to record the fight without intervening, say the documents. At one point, a staff member tells Resident 8 to “Stop screaming, (expletive).” Resident 9 continues to hit Resident 8 and begins to choke her. A staff member can be heard encouraging Resident 9, saying “punch her in the face.” While Resident 8 was being choked, a staff member can be heard in the background saying, “You making her turn red,” the documents say.
According to the documents, the video shows one of the employees calling for their supervisor to come into the room. Once off the bed, Resident 9 was still instigating Resident 8, and in retaliation, Resident 8 tries to shove Resident 9 out of the room, but the staff tells her, “Don’t you push her.” When the supervisor finally arrives, she comes into the room smiling, and does not ask about the fight. Instead, she points a finger at Resident 8 and says, “Stop, you better sit down and stop, go to bed,” say the documents.
One of the workers, who is not specifically identified in the documents, told authorities she recorded the fight because Resident 8 was a “Pain in the butt.”
On a separate occasion, Resident 8 pushed another resident, identified in the document as Resident 10, to the ground. Documents say Tyson, McKey and Jordan were present for that incident as well, and one of them yelled at Resident 8, pushed her forcefully into a room, shut off the lights and told her to go to sleep. The three workers left Resident 10 on the floor until Resident 8 had been pushed into the room The worker who shoved Resident 8 was not specified in the documents.
Danby House’s parent company, Affinity Living, LLC, told Winston-Salem Journal in a statement that it has “a zero tolerance policy for mistreatment” and that “McKey, Tyson, and Jordan were terminated immediately in June when community management was alerted to this situation.” The company said it has implemented additional staff training and “a more rigorous vetting process for all new and existing employees.”
Affinity Living did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
According to the Winston-Salem Police Department, a magistrate gave Jordan a $1,500 unsecured bond and McKey a $1,000 unsecured bond. Tyson was released from custody on a written promise to appear in court.
The women are scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 14.