The death of a mentally ill Florida inmate, who was thrown into a scalding hot prison shower in 2012 and left there for two hours, has been ruled accidental.
The Miami Herald reports that Darren Rainey died from complications due to schizophrenia, heart disease, and “confinement” at Dade Correctional Institution, according to the final Miami-Dade medical examiner autopsy from this case. When finally let out of the shower, his skin had melted off, yet since Rainey had no burns on his body, the medical examiner could not rule whether the shower was “excessively” hot.
The medical examiner concluded that the officers who had thrown him into the shower had no intent to harm him. Prosecutors must now decide whether to charge them.
Rainey’s death motivated the Miami Herald to publish a series of investigations on prison abuses in Florida, leading to reforms in the state’s correctional department. The newspaper learned about Rainey from another inmate, Harold Hempstead, whose cell is below the shower and heard Rainey scream for forgiveness while inside. Hempstead had also told investigators that the shower was rigged to be controlled from an adjoining room, and was used on several mentally ill prisoners, in order to keep them in line.
Of the autopsy conclusion, Hempstead said, “The decision shows that black lives don’t matter.”
Miami’s ACLU has also taken an interest in this case. The executive director called the medical examiner ruling of no intent to harm a conclusion that “defies logic.” The Office of the Inspector General is also investigating, but has suspended its probe until the prosecution wraps up the case.
(Via Miami Herald)