From his retirement home in Pennsylvania, Frank Davis has watched the Joshua Messier case unfold with keen interest and painful familiarity.
Messier is the young man who died while being restrained by guards at Bridgewater State Hospital in 2009. Governor Deval Patrick has called the death “disgusting” and has disciplined several officials deemed responsible.
But before the death of Messier, there was the beating of Jason Davis, Frank Davis’s son. He, too was a mental patient at a Massachusetts state hospital — in his case, Westborough State Hospital. He suffered a beating at the hands of guards, in 1993.
Davis wasn’t killed during his beating. But it was, his father says, a tragic turning point in a life that ended too early a decade later. The Davis family is still waiting for the justice that courts say it is owed.
Jason Davis was 28 at the time of his assault. He had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and had been in and out of mental hospitals since he was 17. He had been committed to Westborough for threatening to kill his father.
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