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Florida Guards Will Not Be Prosecuted In Death Of Prisoner During Hot Shower

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Darren Rainey was yelling and screaming in the shower for two hours according to one inmate.

Charges against four prison guards will not be brought by Florida prosecutors. The guards held a black, schizophrenic prison inmate in a hot shower for hours.

The circumstances of the death:

On Friday, The office of the Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle released a memo concluding that Darren Rainey had died in part because of undiagnosed heart disease and suffered no scalding injuries.

The probe into the death of the 50-year-old at the Dale Correctional Institution where he was serving a two-year sentence on a cocaine charge, which took five years, has finally concluded.

According to a memo written by Assistant State Attorneys Kathleen Hoague and Johnette Hardiman, on 23 June 2012, Rainey was taken to the shower after he had smeared feces on himself, the walls of his cell and his bed sheets.

Showers in the prison are operated from an adjoining room by a corrections officer to prevent inmates from turning. As per the memo, the shower was activated but Rainey refused to stand under the water.

Rainey was told by Officer Roland Clarke that he couldn’t go back to his cell until he washed off. And, as per the memo, Rainey said he would comply and asked for soap, which he was given

Officer Clarke told investigators that after starting to wash, Rainey said, “No, I don’t want to do this,” and leaned on a wall away from the water.

After about two hours the decision was made to take Rainey out of the shower. Despite officers continuing to check on him, but he was found lying face up in about 3 inches of water with no pulse and not breathing.

Claims made by inmate Harold Hempstead were rejected by the memo. Hempstead stated that he had heard Rainey yelling and kicking at the shower door, saying “I’m sorry. I won’t do it anymore” and “I can’t take it no more” and hearing the guards laughing.

Conflicting witnesses reports:

Hempstead was an unreliable witness according to Hoague and Hardiman, they cited contradictions with testimonies by other inmates.

The findings of Miami-Dade’s medical examiner, Dr. Emma Lew, echoed the memo, stating that Rainey did not suffer any burns of any kind and there was no evidence of trauma. His death is attributed to a combination of his schizophrenia, heart disease and confinement in the small shower space.

However, shortly after his death, a nurse told the Miami Herald that Rainey’s body temperature that night was so high it could not be read on a thermometer and a report written the day of the autopsy referred to “visible trauma…throughout the decedent’s body”.

After an investigation by the newspaper, Police began to examine the case in 2014. They interviewed 26 inmates of the mental health ward of the prison, known as the transition care unit (TCU), at the time of Rainey’s death.

The officers used the showers to punish inmates when they misbehaved by holding them in there and turn the water to scalding and freezing, according to six of those interviewed.

Milton Grimes, the lawyer acting for Rainey’s family said in a statement that the family is “disappointed and heartbroken” that no charges will be brought. He said “This is not justice for Darren, for his family, nor for the mentally ill who have been subject to similar abuse and mistreatment.”