Police Abuse

Prison Guards Who Threw Inmate in Hot Shower, Killing Him, Committed No Crime, State's Attorney Rules

Incident occured in 2012, the investigation was launched two years later after a local paper started asking questions.


Florida Dept of Corrections

Darren Rainey spent two hours locked in a shower inmates at the Dade Correctional Institute said prison guards left set to scalding hot before dying of the injuries caused by the water. Rainey's skin was peeling off when he was removed from the shower. Inmates say he was screaming to be let out before he died, and that guards regularly used extremely hot and cold showers to punish mentally ill patients. Nearly five years later, in a report released Friday, the state's attorney has ruled that there was no criminal conduct by the guards.

In her ruling, Katherine Fernandez Rundle said, according to the Miami Herald, that John Fan Fan, a sergeant, and the officers involved in getting Rainey into the shower, Ronald Clarke, Cornelius Thompson, and Edwina Williams, didn't act with premeditation, malice, recklessness, ill-will, hatred or evil intent. The officers involved were eventually promoted after the incident.

The state attorney claimed testimony from inmates was inconsistent with testimony from prison staff as well as physical evidence, and that she could not find evidence Rainey was burned to death. His family says they were pressured to cremate his body, the fact that Rainey's skin fell off on contact after his death is undisputed, and the nurse who tried to take his temperature after he died said it was too high to register on the thermometer. A prison officer tested the shower a couple of days after Rainey's death, finding it went as high as 160 degrees, but no investigators checked the shower the day of Rainey's death.

Only two prison officers, the nurse, and a paramedic were interviewed by police immediately after the incident—other witnesses, including inmates, were not interviewed until 2014. That investigation, the Herald notes, only started when the newspaper began "raising questions about the case as part of what would become a three-year probe into corruption in Florida prisons."

Harold Hempstead, an inmate who acted as an orderly at the mental ward, was reportedly the first person to question the incident. According to the Herald, he wrote letters and filed complaints "with police, the medical examiner and the state attorney about Rainey's death as well as other alleged abuses" in the transitional care unit, where Rainey died. Hempstead was recently transferred to a prison in another state, the Herald reported, making it impossible for them or other newspapers to interview him in the wake of the investigation report.

In mid-2012, another inmate committed suicide at the prison, leaving a note about the abuses he said he suffered while there. His death was not part of the Rainey investigation. The Herald also notes inconsistencies in the investigative report about abuse—at one point the report says just one other inmate said he had been thrown into an extremely hot shower, but at another it reports on two other inmates who said the same thing.

After the paper's work exposing abuses at the Dade Correctional Institute, the Herald reports that the "warden and assistant warden were forced out, and, later, then-Secretary [of Corrections] Michael Crews stepped down amid political pressure." The inspector-general of the prison system also eventually left—he had been accused by his investigators, according to the Herald, of hampering investigations.

Correction Secretary Julie Jones told the Herald she was appreciative of work by police and the state attorney, which exonerated the officers, and said she was still committed to reforms. "We will continue to integrate services which ensure these inmates successfully re-enter society," she told the Herald, "and lead crime-free lives upon release."

NEXT: Food Taxes Should Die, but Won't

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  1. It boggles the mind that this could NOT be considered a criminal act. I’m not a big fan of using Federal “civil rights” laws as substitutes for state-level criminal law, but this seems like a case where doing so might be warranted.

    1. What the holy fuck. My mind is most definitely boggles.

      1. Boggles to the point that the State Attorney could be considered to be a party to the conspiracy to cover up the abuses. There is no way a rational human could look at this case and find that “inconsistencies in the testimony” was enough to absolve what is obviously a horrific murder. The notion that prison staff didn’t think it was a big deal to toss mentally ill patients into a scalding hot shower makes it worse, not better.

        The fact that a rather large group of people is OK with treating other human beings this way is even more worrying. Because that means there is something more than just a few bad apples at work. There is a deeper bit of human nature at work here.

    2. This is precisely illustrative of why the federal “civil rights” laws exist, and that they are still insufficient

      1. And now that Trump is in office, there will be no further inquiry.

        1. Not defending Trump but it has nothing to do with who the POTUS is. Do you think any of the investigations into the killings by police that happened under Obama’s watch went anywhere?

          1. Trump is beyond defending at this point. However if he wanted to, he could certainly instruct one his own suspected racists (Jeff Sessions) to at least pretend to investigate.

  2. the officers involved in getting Rainey into the shower… didn’t act with premeditation, malice, recklessness, ill-will, hatred or evil intent.

    Bullshit. There would surely be a case for recklessness or negligence that would justify presenting charges for manslaughter.

    1. Hell no this is murder. Christ…no crime? Just the nut punch I needed for the weekend.

      If this isn’t malice WTF is?

      1. or premeditated. He just accidentally ended up being locked into a 160 degree shower and this was not the first time they did this shit.

  3. The horrible truth is that the prison guards committed no crime. What they did perfectly reflects the will of the electorate and the State.

  4. Fuck the “Why Won’t Food Taxes Die?” post, I want to know why these fuckers won’t die.

    1. Citizens right to rebel?

    2. Because no one has the stones to fire up the woodchipper.

      1. exactly! If this happened to one of my family members i would loose my shit. I dont know why no one seeks revenge for this shit. I rather be dead than let someone get away with this.

        1. Damn right. Fucking intolerable.

  5. “she could not find evidence Rainey was burned to death”

    Other than 160 deg water, witness accounts, skin falling off the victims body, and oh yeah, the fact that he is dead. Other than that, absolutely no evidence.

    1. Just like Kelly Thomas, he died from lack of oxygen to the brain.

      1. jesus. I love making people watch that 15 straight minutes of beating and tell them that no crime was commited.

        My mom is still pissed for making her watch that awful video.

        1. It is sickening.

          My heart goes out to his father. Can you imagine the turmoil a father must feel watching a video of sadists beating his mentally ill son to death while the son calls out Daddy! Daddy ! pleading for his father to come save him ?

          I canmot imagine the heart wrenching pain the father feels. I ocassionaly still tear up over a Golden Retriever I lost after 12 years of bliss.

          The thought of our civil servants purposely beating a helpless person to death like that makes me cringe just being around one of them.

          1. Yeah, and you have to start with that fat asshole making a show of putting his gloved fist in the poor guy’s face and saying “You see this? These are gonna fuck you up!” And then proceeding to scare him into standing up so that he could begin administering said beating.

            If you can’t get a conviction when you have someone on video making threats, immediately following up on those threats and beating a non-threatening and unresisting 135 pound mentally ill homeless man into a bloody and mostly unrecognizable mess, you have no business in a courtroom. Those guys should have been lucky to avoid the death penalty (in California, where there is no death penalty).

            For those who haven’t seen it – the aggravating factor that should have gotten California to bring back the death penalty just this once was the casual way they stepped over the body after beating him so severely. The EMTs show up and they direct them to a scraped elbow rather than the dying pile of human flesh laying on the curb.

            If ever there was a poster case for “depraved indifference to human life”, this was it.
            The fact that everyone knows Michael “Hands up, Don’t shoot the gentle giant!” Brown and nobody has heard of Kelly Thomas should clue you in to the agenda being pushed by the national media. And it ain’t police reform.

            1. And this is why I would never have any sympathy for the cops if the dad went and killed all of them in revenge. I wouldn’t judge the father at all after the legal system allowed them to get away with malicious murder.

              1. Seriously.

                Scum bag cops.

                One can hope…karma.

          2. His father is a decent man. Had it been my son, each one of those cops would have turned up mysteriously dead in what looked like a series of very suspicious accidents.

            1. Agreed. So few people have the stones or will to fight for their family let alone country in face of such injustice.

  6. AHHHH!!! NO!!!! PLEASE GOD!!!!!!!!!!

    “Hillary Clinton said Friday she’s “ready to come out of the woods” and help Americans find common ground.”


    1. But did she shit in the woods, or is she still full? Let’s find out how that ole joke works in this modern Hillaryist age.

    2. so how much was she paid to make this speech ?

      was the money paid to her directly or routed tax free through her 501c3 ?

      inquiring minds want to know

  7. If the Obama administration found cause to intervene in Ferguson, MO then they certainly could have intervened in this incident back in 2012. Maybe “Black Lives Didn’t Matter” back then? We may also ask if the Florida Libertarian Party tried to make a big stink about this.That kind of activism would be far more productive than running someone for Library Board. When things like this happen in your state or county, speak up or shut up about being a defender of individual liberty.

    1. Well, the three of us would have met for a beer, but we all live like 3 or 4 hours apart. My calls to the Governor’s office and Pam Bondi’s office apparently didn’t scare anyone into action. You know, when you can throw around huge voting blocks like the LP can, you’d think you’d get a little more respect.

  8. FL’s DOC is a known cesspool. I suppose Gov. Sleletor could have removed whoever and replaced them with a stooge that would bring a prosecution, if he thought he had the power to do such a thing.

  9. Nothing criminal? Great, let them endure a 160F shower for two hours as proof.

    1. Yea its nuts. If i did this shit it would be torture and murder but for the state….acceptable punishment.

      People wonder why i hate the state and cops.

  10. One last question/observation:

    Exactly why would you build a shower room with a bunch of showers that cannot be turned off or have their temperature adjusted from inside the shower room. And why would you make that room escape proof, with no place to walk free of the water?

    Just a little note for the wrongful death suit …. I’d say the building of that particular room is prima-facia evidence of intent … not by one or two “rouge guards”, but by the state itself.

    1. You know who else built an escape proof shower that couldn’t be turned off…

    2. Exactly why would you build a shower room with a bunch of showers that cannot be turned off or have their temperature adjusted from inside the shower room. And why would you make that room escape proof, with no place to walk free of the water?

      Easy. Rules are for the little people.

    3. Of all the many horrifying details in this case, this is the one that struck me the hardest. What is the point of having such a thing other than torture?

      This case cries for further action.

    4. My initial thought is the old de-lousing routine?

  11. the fact that Rainey’s skin fell off on contact after his death is undisputed, and the nurse who tried to take his temperature after he died said it was too high to register on the thermometer.

    No autopsy for a guy who mysteriously dies in a shower with his skin falling off and a body temp to high to be measured with a thermometer?

    A brief google and it seems that state law would require an autopsy for *any* prisoner death while in custody, let alone one with such a “mysterious” cause.

    And there is such a law in Florida.

    PUBLIC HEALTH Chapter 406 MEDICAL EXAMINERS; DISPOSITION OF HUMAN REMAINS 406.11?Examinations, investigations, and autopsies.?

    1. 406.11?Examinations, investigations, and autopsies.?
      (1)?In any of the following circumstances involving the death of a human being, the medical examiner of the district in which the death occurred or the body was found shall determine the cause of death and shall, for that purpose, make or have performed such examinations, investigations, and autopsies as he or she shall deem necessary or as shall be requested by the state attorney:
      (a)?When any person dies in the state:
      1.?Of criminal violence.
      2.?By accident.
      3.?By suicide.
      4.?Suddenly, when in apparent good health.
      5.?Unattended by a practicing physician or other recognized practitioner.
      6.?In any prison or penal institution.
      7.?In police custody.
      8.?In any suspicious or unusual circumstance.
      9.?By criminal abortion.
      10.?By poison.
      11.?By disease constituting a threat to public health.
      12.?By disease, injury, or toxic agent resulting from employment.
      (b)?When a dead body is brought into the state without proper medical certification.
      (c)?When a body is to be cremated, dissected, or buried at sea.

    2. (2)(a)?The district medical examiner shall have the authority in any case coming under subsection (1) to perform, or have performed, whatever autopsies or laboratory examinations he or she deems necessary and in the public interest to determine the identification of or cause or manner of death of the deceased or to obtain evidence necessary for forensic examination.
      (b)?The Medical Examiners Commission shall adopt rules, pursuant to chapter 120, providing for the notification of the next of kin that an investigation by the medical examiner’s office is being conducted. A medical examiner may not retain or furnish any body part of the deceased for research or any other purpose which is not in conjunction with a determination of the identification of or cause or manner of death of the deceased or the presence of disease or which is not otherwise authorized by this chapter, part V of chapter 765, or chapter 873, without notification of and approval by the next of kin.

      1. as he or she shall deem necessary

  12. Chuck Berry is dead.

    RIP you magnificent legend.

    At least we have Lou Reed.

    1. An icon indeed. RIP.

  13. It’s stories like this that further support my vow to not be taken alive. If nothing else, my death will not be relatively quick, assuming they have practiced on a few dogs, much preferable to being turned over to the torturers who boil you alive, and get promotions for their efficiency. It bloody well sounds like the dark ages.

    1. Have to agree with you on this one.

    2. *my death WILL be relatively quick

  14. If he didn’t want to be tortured and murdered, he shouldn’t have broken the rules.

      1. Sarc is default mode

  15. It’s like we’re subsidizing the Stanford Prison Experiment.

    1. Exactly, and just like the criminal in charge of that experiment, Phil Zimbardo, the criminals here also got promoted. Phil is out there enjoying prestige when he should have been jailed decades ago. And then, one human trash is arguing here that the guards got promoted after, not because of the crime. This is how all these monsters not get away but also move ahead.

  16. This shit truly is infuriating and makes me want to pour pots of boiling water over the heads of the beasts who did this, and especially those who have let them walk. The sad truth is that the public by and large doesn’t care what happens to those behind bars, or have somehow ended up in a tussle with police-they think they somehow deserve it. This happened in FL, but the same shit goes on all the time in progtopias-when I was living in Mass. back in the 90s, something very similar happened to an inmate and the guards involved were also promoted.

    1. The real monsters are the jury.

      1. Except this never even went to a jury — the prosecutor declined to charge them.

  17. The officers involved were eventually promoted after the incident.

    Heh heh. Not promoted because of the incident. After. Alert readers may note the difference.

    1. DanO.|3.18.17 @ 10:31PM|#
      “…Not promoted because of the incident. After. Alert readers may note the difference.”

      Alert readers note your irrelevant comment.
      Fuck off.

    2. Alter readers would probably also notice that you’re so far the only person to find anything at all humorous about that story.

    3. So, you need to get an “incident” like this to wake up. That would merit a promotion for whoever does it to you for that would make a difference in the world.

  18. So lefty rag continues beating on Trump for all the wrong reasons, ’cause the hag lost:

    “Trump’s proposed cuts to research funding would hurt Bay Area”

    Probably paywalled, but let’s do a thought experiment here: The woman is studying the effects of stress on humans. Certainly a valid area of study, but let’s put it to her that the money she’s getting from the feds is TAKEN AT GUNPOINT! Do you think she might find ways of economizing on her studies? I do.
    “Meals on Wheels sees donation surge after President Trump proposes funding cuts”
    “While the block grants fund only a small portion of Meals on Wheels’ operations nationwide, spokeswoman Jenny Bertolette told CNN that some of the group’s 5,000 local branches rely on the money to bring food to people.”

    Which is exactly the point: If you support MoW, pay the bill! Don’t pick up a gun and walk down the street mugging people.
    BTW, there was some dimwit here a couple of days ago linking a map claiming MoW was gonna go belly-up without fed money. I guess that was so much horseshit.

    1. The Meals On Wheels bit was clearly a set-up by the media, probably orchestrated before the press conference.

      Two separate reporters asked questions about the block grant using “MoW” as the example – even thought it is barely affected by the block grants. And then they pulled together a franken-quote, splicing sentences spoken several minutes apart in separate responses to different questions by different reporters into one response designed to make it look like they were killing off meals on wheels because they think it doesn’t work, when this was clearly not what he was saying at all.

      When Mother Jones calls you out on your Trump-bashing maneuvering, maybe it is time to up your game.

      1. Link no work, but the point is taken.
        The SF Chron is dedicating at least half of every front page to TDS. That will fly in SF; I am surrounded by lefty ignoramuses. I do notice that the (more than) several people on the left coast who claimed to be leaving for Canada haven’t found their way to the airport. Wife suggests not raising the issue of hypocrisy at dinner…
        Regardless, the last election shows such propaganda won’t fly outside the bubble, but it hasn’t stopped the flow.
        Is it Thursday yet? Because that’s when the ‘security agencies’ were going to release the details of how the russkies gamed the election to favor Trump, along about, oh, after Christmas some time. And it’s not yet Thursday, is it?
        I do not think it is anything like a conspiracy; if you have to choose between stupidity and cupidity, take stupidity every time. These are people who are blinded by their lack of vision and do not know they are fish in water. Others who breathe air look and wonder. And didn’t vote for that slimy hag.
        I didn’t vote for Trump, but he’s taken enough positive actions that we can all be thankful that the Clinton hag is left making speeches for a living.

  19. More TDS:

    “Analysis: No, Germany doesn’t owe America ‘vast sums’ of money for NATO”
    “Trump’s comments misrepresent the way NATO functions,” Daalder told us. “The president keeps saying that we need to be paid by the Europeans for the fact that we have troops in Europe or provide defense there. But that’s not how it works.”

    I have no idea if there are “vast” amounts involved, but Daalder is obviously ignorant to the frangibility of money. The Euro free-riding on the US taxpayers (you and me) don’t need to pay us; they need to pay their own way.
    Do twits like this presume we’re dumb enough to buy the misdirection? Or dumb enough not to understand?

    1. “…the frangibility of money.”

      How “fungibility” became “frangibility” is easy to see if you check auto-correct…

  20. This is beyond disgusting. What kind of person does this sort of crap? Good Lord. I might imagine this crap happening in 1817, but not 2017.

  21. I spent 8 years in the Florida Dept of Corrections (Corruptions) ……It is not in any way, shape, or form, to be compared to any other state’s prison system nation wide. The cops (guards) are (WAY) so fucking underpaid that the only people who sign up to train for a position are young single mothers, dumb ass GED hillbillies, and a few vets that want a start to a law enforcement career. They get away with ANYTHING. I’ve seen guards plant drugs, knock out handcuffed cons, lie, engage in homosexual activity with queers..etc, etc.
    Let me give ya all a tip…..DO NOT GO TO GHE JOINT IN FLA

    1. dumb ass GED hillbillies? You do know that the highest thing in Florida is either Space Mountain, or a roller coaster, right?

    2. The solution is always throw more money at it. How about no?

  22. I am a political conservative. I lean further right than Reagan did. So I’d just like to take a moment to translate what the state attorney said to the citizens of Florida since the media is full of left wing bias. “We are not charging these people who are obviously responsible for this mans death because we are the state and we can kill anyone we want. Fuck You!!!”

    This is one of the most heinous crimes I have ever heard of. For the state to white wash it is even more heinous. As these events become more common, and they have, people will lose even more trust in government. I can’t say how it will end only that the ending will not be good.

    Should anyone claim my language offensive I submit in comparison to cooking a human being to death there are no offensive words.

  23. Sounds like, at a minimum, second degree murder, and a judge that needs to be removed from the bench for gross incompetence.

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