North Carolina

Staff ran fight club for dementia patients at NC assisted living center, police say

Three women who ran a “fighting ring” at a North Carolina assisted living facility encouraged residents to get into a physical altercation, officials say.

They were workers at the Danby House in Winston-Salem in June when they didn’t intervene in a fight between two residents with dementia, according to a report from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

Staff members took video of the fight, which led to “one resident being strangled with her face turning red,” and shared it on social media, the state report says.

It happened when one resident hit another, and the report says staff members can be heard on video saying, “Punch her in the face.”

During the altercation, a staff member asked, “Are you recording? You gonna send it to me?” the report says.

The employees let the fight happen because one of the residents “always caused problems,” the state says.

The incident wasn’t documented in the residents’ records, according to DHHS.

Though the report doesn’t name the staff members, the Winston-Salem Journal identifies them as Taneshia Deshawn Jordan, Tonacia Yvonne Tyson and Marilyn Latish McKey.

Winston-Salem police arrested the three women this month and charged them with misdemeanor “assault on an individual with a disability,” a news release says. They are accused of running a “fighting ring” at the Danby House, WGHP and other news outlets report.

McKey faces an additional charge after she was accused of shoving one of the residents involved in the fight during a separate incident at the assisted living facility, according to the station.

Staff took video while McKey pushed the woman “into a room, turned off the light and yelled to the resident to go to sleep, and then closed the door leaving the resident in the dark room,” according to the report.

Also appearing on video was a resident who was on the floor and couldn’t get up, the report says.

Officials investigated the allegations, and “no injuries were reported or discovered,” the Winston-Salem Police Department says.

The three staff members were fired after allegations surfaced in June, the Danby House said Monday in an emailed statement.

The center says it has a “zero-tolerance policy for mistreatment of those in our care,” and it worked to implement leadership changes, “additional staff training and a more rigorous vetting process for all new and existing employees.”

A state suspension that prevented Danby House from accepting new patients was in effect as of Friday, the Winston-Salem Journal reported.

Jordan, Tyson and McKey are expected to appear in court next month, records show.

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