Nederland special needs man hospitalized after assault triggered by racial slur

Published 2:35 pm Friday, July 2, 2021

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A 26-year-old special needs man is recovering from a fractured jaw after an assault by a teenager outside of the Nederland Recreation Center.

Kaycie Daws said her brother, Keyton Daws of Nederland, has cerebral palsy and is developmentally delayed. He enjoys walking at Doornbos Park and socializing.

“He never meets a stranger,” Daws said.

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The altercation happened Wednesday, when a 14-year-old hit Keyton Daws. A video of the incident was uploaded to Snapchat — much to Taylor’s family’s dismay.

The video shows a male, who appears to be a teenager, telling Keyton Daws “I just told you not to say it again” as the punch connects with Keyton Daws’ face.

A voice is heard saying, “That’s why you don’t say that. That’s not nice. Don’t say that again, bro. I ain’t playing with you.”

Keyton Daws

The incident

Daws said the altercation left her brother with loose teeth and two fractures to his jaw. She believes the teen that hit him is aware he is special needs.

“I know he had been hanging around a group of young kids ages 14, 15, 16. From what we heard he was encouraged to, by the group, say certain things and was punched as a result to that,” she said.

The woman did not repeat the word her brother allegedly said to the teen but said it is a racial slur her family does not use.

“It’s nothing that we were taught. It’s not a word either of our parents used. We don’t come from a family using those terms,” she said.

She believes the other teens with her brother encouraged him to say the word, making it sound like it was funny and cool.

Nederland Police were called to the scene for the disturbance at 5:09 p.m. Wednesday.

Chief Gary Porter said he could not confirm what city the reported suspect is from but said he has been staying in Nederland.

No arrests have been made as of Friday afternoon.

The case is under investigation, and if officers believe criminal charges are appropriate, it will be filed with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office or the Nederland Municipal Court.

Porter said no weapons were involved and there is no indication of gang activity.

Possible charges range from a class C misdemeanor to a felony.

The injury

Keyton Daws was first brought to a local hospital and then taken to a Galveston hospital.

“He’s in a lot of pain,” she said. “They (family) were waiting for the trauma team to come back (Friday) morning to see how he’s tolerating the new pain med. Morphine wasn’t working.”

Doctors also have Keyton Daws on a liquid diet due to his injuries. If the swelling in his face goes down he will be able to go home then return next week for surgery.

The injury has affected him mentally as well. Being around youth made Keyton Daws feel “normal,” Daws said, and now with the assault, that has been stripped away because of “kids being ruthless.”

“I don’t think he completely comprehends,” his sister said. “He doesn’t see evil. He doesn’t see the bad in people, so he’s having a hard time wrapping his mind around this, that people can be bad.”

Daws is also having to accept the assault.

“In his 26 years I’ve never heard him say the words hurt or pain come out of his mouth and for him to openly admit he’s in excruciating pain is heartbreaking,” she said.