Police probe 2nd nursing home beating video as alleged victim's family plans lawsuit

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — Police officials are investigating a second video that allegedly shows a man assaulting his 75-year-old nursing home roommate, as relatives of the alleged victim prepare to sue the Detroit facility for negligence.

Police also are looking into other videos posted on Jaden Hayden's YouTube channel that they said appear to show him assaulting other people. Among the videos that Hayden posted are ones claiming blacks are the "chosen people," female celebrities are really men and the novel coronavirus is God's punishment for gays and lesbians.

Hayden20 of Ypsilanti faces two counts of assault with intent to do great bodily harm, theft and two counts of credit card theft for an alleged videotaped beating of Norman Bledsoe at the Westwood Nursing Center in the 16850 block of Schaefer Highway on Detroit's northwest side.

Jaden Hayden

Bledsoe's nephew said Wednesday his uncle is in Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit recovering from four broken fingers, broken ribs and a broken jaw from the alleged May 15 attack, which made national headlines after a video of it went viral and prompted comment from President Donald Trump.

Hayden is incarcerated in the Wayne County Jail in lieu of $300,000 bond. Wayne County Sheriff's spokeswoman Pageant Atterberry said Hayden is in quarantine as he is tested for COVID-19, which is protocol for all incoming prisoners. 

It was unclear Wednesday whether Hayden had retained an attorney.

Detroit Police Deputy Chief Marlon Wilson said Wednesday investigators are looking at a second assault video posted by Hayden. 

"We don't know if it was shot the same day, but there is a second video that shows the suspect assaulting the same victim," Wilson said.

The 31-second video, which like the original video is not on Hayden's YouTube channel, shows a man police said is Hayden punching the victim 20 times. No words are spoken.

Another shaky 16-second video posted on Dec. 20, titled "revenge on my old bully," appears to show a man being assaulted. Other videos also appear to show assaults, although no faces are visible.

"I can confirm we're looking into those other videos as well," Wilson said.

Other videos posted under the name "pranks and dares theanimalferrari" include claims that female pop stars Beyonce and Rihanna are men; and that the coronavirus was God's punishment for gays and lesbians.

Hayden also posted videos saying: "The No. 1 reason our black ancestors became slaves was they rejected God." He added: "The black race is the chosen race; the black race was supposed to rule the earth."

As police investigate the other videos, the alleged victim's nephew told The Detroit News Wednesday that his family has retained an attorney and plans on suing the nursing home. 

"We don't know who shot that video," Kevin Bledsoe said Wednesday, referring to the first video that went viral. "The nursing home people tried to say my uncle set up the camera and posted it to the internet, but he's a 75-year-old man — he doesn't know what the internet is.

"So someone in the nursing home shot that video and posted it to the internet," Bledsoe said. "We want to know who that was. We also want to know how long this went on, and why nobody in the nursing home knew about it."

Phone calls made Wednesday to Midwest Legal Partners, the firm representing the nursing home, were not immediately returned. Last week, Saif Kasmikha, the firm's managing attorney, released a statement to the media saying Westwood is cooperating with police and that the company's top priority is its residents' safety.

Geoffrey Fieger, whose firm is representing the Bledsoe family, said Wednesday he wants answers about how nursing home staff handled the situation.

"I can't conceive how or why the nursing home wouldn't have known about this, and why they did what they did," Fieger said. "That's why there's going to be a lawsuit involving this unacceptable negligence."

Fieger said his attorneys were drawing up the lawsuit Wednesday and that it was expected to be filed in Wayne Circuit "soon."

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a press release announcing charges against Hayden last week that nursing home employees told investigators they believed Bledsoe's injuries were accidental. 

"Nursing home staff heard the commotion (from the alleged beating) and rendered assistance to Mr. Bledsoe, who was observed with bleeding and injuries to the left and right side of his head," Worthy said.

"Based upon information from the defendant the staff was led to believe he has fallen from his bed," Worthy wrote. "Mr. Bledsoe was taken to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries."

Worthy added: "It is alleged that ... Hayden posted videos on social media after the attack, and that he also stole Mr. Bledsoe’s credit cards. The videos were brought to the attention of the Ann Arbor Police Department. As a result of their investigation, information (was) provided to the Detroit Police Department."

On May 21, Trump tweeted about the incident: "Is this even possible to believe? Can this be for real? Where is this nursing home, how is the victim doing?"

That same day, Detroit police arrested Hayden. Attempts to reach his relatives were not successful Wednesday, although a man claiming to be his father told Fox 2 Detroit last week that his son had mental problems.

"It should've never happened because he should've never been put in that environment," the man said. "I just don't want people to think that he's this vicious individual. He's got mental issues."

Kevin Bledsoe said investigators told him Hayden "has the mental capacity of a 12-year-old."

"Right now, we're trying to make sure he doesn't get released back to that facility," he said. "My father and his sister have custody, but my aunt has dementia, and my dad is trying to take the point. My stepbrother is a police officer, and he's trying to get his belongings from the nursing home.

"We're planning to sue everyone involved in this," Kevin Bledsoe said.

Hayden claimed in one of his YouTube videos that he was a member of the A-Square Fight Club boxing gym in Ann Arbor. The gym posted on its website that Hayden was never a member.

"He has not been to our gym in about 2 years and when there, he would do drop-in visits," according to the website's May 21 post. "We do not condone the violence he did ... the victim has our deepest sympathies."