The family of Alegend Jones, a teen who died following alleged abuse at a group home facility, has retained civil rights giant Benjamin Crump as legal counsel.
The Bartlett, Tenn. Police Department and Department of Child Services have launched a probe into Youth Villages, a youth group home outside of Memphis where 17-year-old Jones was living. In a Nov. 16 press conference, Crump said Jones was transferred to the Shelby County Health Department for a medical examination and refused to remove her clothes in front of the male counselors.
In response, one of the counselors body slammed her, prompting the health department staff to call the police, which ended in Jones being transferred back to Youth Villages, Crump said. Upon her return, witnesses saw Jones brutally assaulted and choked by over a dozen counselors, her family alleges. The battering caused her to suffer a brain bleed. Jones died at the hospital.
“I sent her to Youth Villages to get help,” Shona Garner-White, Jones’ mother, said. “And now they’re sending my baby back in a casket. Youth Villages is supposed to help my kid. I’m never supposed to bury my kid. My kid is supposed to bury me.”
Jones was in the care of Youth Villages for the past two months while her mother still had custody, according to The Commercial Appeal. She was transferred there for help with her mental health. In a press release, the facility denied any foul play was ever directed toward Jones.
“There were no abusive or otherwise inappropriate interactions directed toward the young person. The young person was brought to the health department by two female staff and was never alone with male staff or asked to undress in front of male staff,” the statement read.
Crump hired an independent medical expert to determine Jones’ cause of death. He also demanded that every piece of information connected to the incident, including surveillance footage, be released to the public.
“[Youth Villages] was supposed to help Alegend Jones, not kill Alegend Jones, and we’re going to get to the trut so we can get justice for Alegend,” Crump said in the conference.