No Charges for Guards Who Locked Schizophrenic Inmate in Scalding Shower Until He Died
The corrections officers who locked Rainey in—John Fan Fan, Cornelius Thompson, Ronald Clarke, and Edwina Williams—ignored Rainey’s screams that he “couldn’t take it anymore” and laughed when he kicked the door. When the guards finally opened the shower, Rainey wasn’t breathing, he was on the floor in three inches of water, his skin had turned red and was flaking off. When he was removed, some of it allegedly peeled off his body. However, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced on Friday that there would be no criminal charges leveled against the guards.
The decision was based on the officers’ testimony and inconclusive evidence that Rainey’s death was caused by the shower and not some undiagnosed heart condition. Family members say they were pressured to cremate his body quickly, so any potential forensic analysis is gone.
But the Miami-Herald reports that there is a context of abuse that’s being ignored at the facility. A man named Harold Hempstead was an inmate and orderly in the mental ward when Rainey died, and was the first to raise concerns over Rainey’s death:
He [Hempstead] and other inmates and mental health staff told the Herald that state prison guards used forms of torture, including dousing prisoners with buckets of chemicals, over-medicating them, forcing them to fight each other and starving them. A group of officers at the prison that served inmates empty food trays, known as “air trays.” was known as the “diet squad’’ and they often preyed on inmates who were too ill to coherently report what had happened, prisoners said.