32 Guards Fired From The Florida Department of Corrections
On Friday, Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Michael Crews, fired 32 guards with the Florida Department of Corrections. All were accused of criminal wrongdoing or misconduct in connection with the deaths of inmates at four state prisons.
The Miami Herald began an investigative project into reports of alleged brutality and corruption in the prison system. Only then did prison officials begin to acknowledge the complaints.
On September 9, 2014, the Miami Herald reported that Disability Rights Florida, a nonprofit mental health advocacy group, filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction to force immediate reforms and investigations into some of the more egregious complaints that it says Crews and others have ignored for more than three years. The law suit alleges that Crews, his department, and Wexford, which provides health services to prisoners, “have permitted people with mental illness who were and currently are housed in the in-patient mental health unit at Dade to be subjected to abuse and discrimination by correctional officers to such an extent that at least two persons with mental illness have died within the past two years,” the suit, being filed Tuesday, alleges.
One of the correction officers is Rollin Suttle Austin, who the Miami Herald plans to publish their investigative article about tomorrow, Sunday. Records show that Correction officer Austin ordered the gassing of Randall Jordan-Aparo, a 27-year-old check forger who died at Franklin Correctional in September 2010. Jordan-Aparo pleaded to be taken to the hospital for a blood disorder that had flared up. Instead, Austin ordered the gassing in a close quarters cell. Three years after Jordan-Aparo’s death, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement visited the Franklin prison to look into an unrelated wrongdoing and stumbled onto the circumstances behind Jordan-Austin’s death. Florida Department of Law Enforcement inspectors now call what happened as a case of “sadistic retaliatory” behavior by guards.
Five of the fired corrections officers are from Union Correctional facility. They are accused of using excessive force in the death of inmate Rudolf Rowe on August 16, 2012.
Eighteen of those fired by Secretary Michael Crews were involved in the death of Matthew Walker at Charlotte Correctional Institution on April 11. Walker, 55, was killed in what the DOC is calling an “inappropriate use of force.”
Correction officers were also fired because of the death of Darren Rainey, a 50-year-old mentally-ill inmate at Dade Correctional. Rainey died in June 2012. Rainey had defecated in his cell and refused to clean it up. The correction officers locked Rainey in a close-like shower and scalded Rainey to death. Chunks of his skin were slipping off his body. When staff witnesses reported their finding to their boss, Inspector General Jeffery Beasley, Beasley alleged said that he would “have their asses” if they didn’t back off.
In recent weeks, Michael Crews acknowledged that the department has failed to take action against corrections officers involved in inmate abuse. He directed his staff to review all cases in which corrections officers had been placed on paid leave following possible criminal wrongdoing.
The Teamsters Union that represents the officers said that the terminations were conducted without due process. Many of the officers, the union official said, were following protocols set forth by their bosses, who have not been held accountable. They blame procedures and protocols on the wardens.
On September 13, 2014, the Palm Beach Post reported that the Florida Department of Corrections announced the dismissal of three officers and two sergeants for punching and kicking a prisoner at Lancaster Correctional Institution.
Another officer was fired for a DUI arrest and another for driving with a suspended license. The department also fired six other prison staffers for hitting an inmate at Northwest Florida Reception Center in Chipley while the prisoner’s hands and legs were shackled. Another corrections officer resigned after one of the prisoners on his work crew took a bathroom break in the woods in Pasco County and did not return.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement now takes the lead on 82 open cases
For a follow-up and more about this case, please see “Florida Settles Lawsuit With Prison Guard Whistle Blowers“.
Posted on 09/20/2014, in civil rights, Cops Gone Wild, Potpourri, Trials & Cases and tagged Darren Rainey, Disability Rights Florida, Florida Department of Corrections, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, guards fired, Michael Crews, Randall Jordan-Aparo, Rollin Suttle Austin. Bookmark the permalink. 54 Comments.