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Outrage as Florida prosecutor decides NOT to charge prison guards who ‘boiled inmate to death’ in scalding shower

March 19, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Outrage as Florida prosecutor decides NOT to charge prison guards who ‘boiled inmate to death’ in scalding shower

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A Florida prosecutor discovered no evidence of a crime in the death of an inmate left for close to two hours in a hot shower. It was determined that the man accidentally died due to an undiagnosed heart disease.

The announcement published on Friday by the office of Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle concludes a lengthy criminal investigation into the 2012 death of 50-year-old Darren Rainey, a mentally disturbed man who was serving a two-year prison sentence on a cocaine charge.

A lawyer for Rainey’s family, Milton Grimes, said in a statement that the family is “disappointed and heartbroken” that no charges will be filed.

“This is not justice for Darren, for his family, not for the mentally ill who have been subject to similar abuse and mistreatment,” Grimes stated.

One nurse indicated that Rainey was removed out of the shower with 90% of his body burned and that his skin was peeling off after he was left in the 180-degree shower.

Darren Rainey, 50, was an inmate at Dade Correctional Institution. A criminal probe into his death in 2012 cleared corrections officers suspected of using scalding water on him

An autopsy at the time did not indicate a cause of death and Rainey’s remains were cremated shortly after, the Daily Mail reported.

However, the prosecutor said the probe found no evidence that officers at the Dade Correctional Institution typically used the hot shower to torture prisoners, as some of them asserted after Rainey died.

Assistant State Attorneys Kathleen Hoague and Johnette Hardiman said in the 72-page decisions that one prisoner’s contentions that Rainey was screaming for help and burned to death were unsupported.

“The evidence fails to show that any officer acted in reckless disregard of Rainey’s life,” they stated.

Rainey was brought to the shower back in June 2012, after he had spread feces on himself, the walls of his jail cell, and on his bed.

The shower, which was controlled from an adjoining room by a corrections officer to prevent the inmates from turning it off, was turned on but Rainey refused to go under the water.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle (above) conducted a two-year investigation after inmates alleged that officers used hot water to torture Rainey

Officer Roland Clarke told the man that he couldn’t go back to his cell until he washed.

Finally, Rainey said he would take a shower and requested soap, which was given to him, according to the memo.

After he had started to shower, Rainey said, “No, I don’t want to do this,” and stood on a wall away from the stream of water, Clarke told authorities.

The corrections officers continued to check on him, and after about two hours the choice was made to take the man out of the shower, but he was found with no pulse and not breathing lying in about 3 inches of water.

One prisoner, Harold Hempstead, said he heard Rainey screaming and kicking at the door, saying, “I’m sorry. I won’t do it anymore” and “I can’t take it anymore.”

The prosecutors determined that Hempstead’s allegations, which he repeated to several press outlets, were not supported by evidence, including surveillance footage from inside the penitentiary.

The above image shows the shower at the Dade Correctional Institution where Rainey died

“Hempstead’s testimony is inherently unreliable and therefore not credible,” Hoague and Hardiman said.

Several witnesses asserted Rainey’s skin looked peeled back and reddish in some spots – one prisoner stated that he seemed like a “boiled lobster.” However, an autopsy determined that the “slippage” was likely caused by pressure or friction on his moist skin.

This could have occurred during attempts to revive him, such as chest compressions, or when police initially carried him out of the shower.

Emma Lew, the medical examiner, credited Rainey’s death to the result of a combination of schizophrenia, heart disease, and confinement to the small space in the shower.

She said schizophrenic individuals could have nervous system reactions that can lead to a heart attack if they have an underlying condition.

“It is not substantiated that the temperatures inside the shower room were excessively high,” Lew stated.

The prosecutors concluded that the corrections officers did not perpetrate murder or manslaughter in Rainey’s death and that taking him to the shower was an appropriate decision.

“Placing an inmate who has defecated on himself in a shower to decontaminate himself is not conduct that is criminally reckless,” they said. “There was no evidence of intent to harm Rainey.”

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