The day after Christmas is the day that thousands of children can be found throughout South Los Angeles playing with their new toys.
Not for Dayvon Taylor, a 6-year-old South Los Angeles child who was beaten to death allegedly at the hands of Tyler Martin-Brand, his mentor who was working as a supervisor at Normandie Elementary School in an after-school program Taylor was enrolled in. He died the day after Christmas not having a chance to play with the toys his father and grandparents bought him.
Martin-Brand is currently being held at the Los Angeles County Jail with his bail set at $2 million. I was driving home from work when I learned the news of Taylor’s death from a journalist and videographer who is usually always first on the scene covering South L.A. issues the mainstream media usually ignores.
He explained the details of what had happened and that some family members of Taylor who were friends of mine needed my help immediately and could I stop by their South L.A. residence. I immediately made a U-turn and headed to the family home where I met with dozens of grieving family members and friends who obviously were shocked and stunned that someone could commit such a heinous crime in a position of trust.
I spoke to Taylor’s father, David Nicholson, and his parents Taylor’s grandparents who all were overcome with emotion and learned that Taylor’s father and mother were co-parenting their child together. I made my mind up it wasn’t my job or my position to take sides. I was the there to help bring comfort and advocacy for both grieving parents, their respective families, friends and supporters.
My main thought was the person to blame for this is the alleged murderer Martin-Brand, who used his title as coach and employment to befriend a single mother and gain her trust. I spoke with Taylor’s mother, Kenya Taylor.
She spoke of how Martin-Brand was called Coach Ty by all the children and was a program supervisor for LAUSD’s Beyond the Bell after-school program,
Martin-Brand had grown close to Dayvon and even took him to the movies. All the kids loved Coach Ty and he spent a lot of time with the children, even setting up play dates with other kids for Dayvon.
The supervisor seemed beloved by children at the elementary school. Martin-Brand took Dayvon to movies and on play dates with other kids, Taylor said.
“That’s why I trusted him to continue being a mentor too my son. I had no ideal he was really a monster and predator who betrayed my trust and everyone in his own family’s trust. I’m sure they had no ideal he could murder an innocent child,”
As we talked, it was apparent to me this poor woman had been duped. She said Brand-Martin was 23 years old. He worked at her son’s school, so she knew he had passed a background check. He was great around all the kids who loved him.
“I let my guard down and allowed him to mentor my son which meant him being alone at times with Martin-Brand, but all male mentors spend time alone with their mentees on trips, events and outings,” Taylor said. “Martin-Brand never gave me a reason to suspect he was child killer. I put my entire trust in a man who was an LAUSD employee and worked with kids. No one could ever have thought this could happen and know I’m heart broken.”
Not only is Dayvon mother heart broken. His father is as well and his side of the family who are very spiritual and have a strong faith in God I continue to be communication with the entire family ensuring them Martin-Brand must answer for Dayvon’s murder and I along with my fellow activists from organizations such as the Southern California Cease-Fire and Justice for Murdered Children will continue to be on the front-lines demanding justice.
The viewing for Dayvon Taylor will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 10 at Family to Family Funeral Services, 15305 Normandie Ave. Funeral services will be held at Faithful Central Bible Church, The Living Room, 400 W. Florence Ave., Inglewood, Jan. 11 at 1 p.m.
The family is inviting everyone to the viewing and funeral.
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