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SPAN to State Attorney: After three years, it’s time for justice for Darren Rainey

Jul 6, 2015 | by admin

SPAN urges State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle to immediate action on Darren Rainey case, sending her detailed information on abuse and murder of inmates, including Darren Rainey, in Special Housing Units provided by inmate witness Harold Hempstead. A typed transcript of Hempstead’s affidavit is included below the letter from SPAN.

Letter to State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle

Madam State Attorney,

I have attached a letter I recently received from Harold Hempstead, which contains information on conditions at Dade Correctional Institution, some of which pertains to Darren Rainey.

On behalf of Stop Prison Abuse Now, I wish to ask, once again, when action will be taken on Mr. Rainey’s case. Over three years past his death, it is shocking to our consciences, and the public’s, that we are not visibly closer to justice. It is unfathomable why the medical examiner has not issued his report on this case. We respectfully urge you to take all due measures to move toward a just conclusion of this case, and we thank you for your consideration of our concerns.

Ms. Puig-Mena, if you will acknowledge receipt of this email, I will be very grateful. Thank you.

Steven Wetstein

Stop Prison Abuse Now (SPAN)

Read Harold Hempstead’s Affidavit (typewritten from the original handwritten copy):


[By Howard Hempstead]

To: U.S. Department of Justice

Criminal Division

950 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest

Washington, DC 20530

Steven Wetstein (mailed to home address), Stop Prison Abuse Now

Definition. Special Housing Units:  The Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) has the following types of Special Housing Units: Death Row, Close Management, Administrative and Disciplinary Confinement, Corrections Mental Health Infirmary, Crisis Stabilization Units, Transitional Care Units, and Protective Management Units.

Preliminary Statement:  In affiants’ 10 years of incarceration, he has never witnessed or heard of DOC staff seriously hurting, or killing an inmate in a general population setting. The amount of inmate witnesses, and the possibility of a riot prevent the foregoing.

FDOC staff are killing inmates in Special Housing Units, and we need help with making our Special Housing Units safer. I state the following to prove this claim.

1) Since this affiant’s June 1, 2000 incarceration in FDOC, he has been housed in the following types of Special Housing Units:  Close Management, Administrative and Disciplinary Confinement, Transitional Care Units, and Protective Management.  Through Affiant’s incarceration, he worked as an orderly in the following types of Special Housing Units:  Close Management, Administrative and Disciplinary Confinement Units, Corrections Mental Health Infirmary, Crisis Stabilization Units and Transitional Care Units.  Accordingly, this affiant has personal knowledge of Special Housing Units and their operations.

Specific Events

2) For 4 months in 2010, and 21 months in 2011 and 2012, affiant lived and worked as an orderly in the Dade C.I. Transitional Care Unit. Over a 6 (?) month period in 2012, a shower in this transitional care unit was used as a torturing device to punish mentally disabled inmates. At least 5 mentally disabled inmates were placed in this shower as punishment. When inmates were placed in this shower as punishment, the shower was turned on only hot with no cold.  The shower reached temperatures in excess of 180 degrees. Darren Rainey, who was the fifth inmate to be placed in this shower was killed in this shower. Affiant witnessed the murder of Darren Rainey and at least 5 inmates get placed in this shower. The murder of Darren Rainey is currently under a state and federal investigation. The Miami Herald newspaper has written over a dozen articles about Rainey’s murder.

3) During the time living and working in the Dade C.I. Transitional Care Unit, this affiant witnessed security staff not feeding mentally disabled inmates their meals as f form of punishment. A large quantity of inmates were denied 1 to 2 meals a day every day for months at a time. Some inmates were denied 3 meals a day for 1 to 3 weeks at a time. It is Affiant’s position, that inmates Oscar Davis and Darrell Richardson both died while patients in the Dade C.I. Transitional Care Unit from being denied a substantial amount of food over a long period of time.  In the end of 2012, Dade C.I. Officer Allen Piggot told this affiant that all of the inmates in the Transitional Care Unit have died over the years that he worked in the foregoing that were denied large quantities of food. The Miami Herald newspaper has written several articles that reference the non-feeding of mentally disabled inmates in this Transitional Care Unit.

4) During the time living and working in the Transitional Care Unit, Affiant witnessed mentally disabled inmates being physically battered by staff, harassed,; laxative, urine and other foreign substances being added to their meals; pure bleach and ammonia being thrown in inmates’ cells to turn their eyes and cause respiratory irritation; ammonia being thrown in an inmate’s face; a biohazard map being rubbed on an inmate’s body, etc.

5) From July 213, till May 2014, affiant worked as an orderly in Dade C.I. Administrative and Disciplinary Confinement units.  During this time period, affiant witnessed inmates being physically battered; laxative, urine and pot being added to inmates’ food trays and drinks; inmates being denied their meals; inmates being forced to live in cells with feces in them, etc.

6) In 2015, affiant filed a 42 USC (?) 1983 Civil Rights complaint lawsuit (Case No. 3:2015-CV-00130 and 3:2015-DV-00374) in the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division entitled “Harold Hempstead V. Roland Clark.” This lawsuit goes into detail concerning the names of staff, names of victims, an incidents committed.  This lawsuit also mentions in detail the matters mentioned in paragraphs 2-5 and can be located on PACER.

7) Other than the foregoing inmates that have been killed and seriously hurt in Special Housing Units at Dade C.I., Miami Herald articles written since May 18, 2014 show that the following inmates have been murdered and/or seriously hurt by staff in the following types of FDOC Special Housing Units:

1) Damion Foster (Murdered), Charlotte C.I. Transitional Care Unit

2) Matthew Walker (Murdered), Charlotte C.I. Transitional Care Unit

3) Richard Iannuzzi (Murdered), Florida State Prison;

4) Frank Valdes (Murdered), Florida State Prison, Death Row;

5) Randall Jordan-Aparo (Murdered), Franklin C.I. Confinement;

6) Frank Smith (Murdered), Union C.I.;

7) Rudolf Rowe (Murdered), Union C.I.;

8) Jerry Washington (Murdered), Santa Rosa C.I. Main Unit Close Management;

9) Rommall Johnson (Murdered), Northwest Florida Reception Center Confinement;

10) Latandra Ellington (Murdered), Lowe C.I. Confinement;

11) Bernadette Gregory (Murdered), Lowe C.I. Confinement;

12) Joseph Swilling (Battered), Dade C.I. Transitional Care Unit;

13) Gary Lloyd (Battered), Franklin C.I. Confinement;

14) Jeremiah Tatum (Battered), Northwest Florida Reception Center Confinement; and

15) Cedric Lewis (Battered) Columbia C.I. Main Unit Confinement.

The fact that the Miami Herald hasn’t located any inmates that have been seriously hurt or killed by FDOC security staff in general population goes toward supporting that FDOC staff are only seriously hurting and murdering FDOC inmates in Special Housing Units.

8) The mounted security cameras in Special Housing Units have the ability to be shut off and tampered with via the fuse box and electrical box that controls the mounted security cameras. FDOC reports will show that when inmates are seriously hurt or killed in Special Housing Units, the majority of the time the mounted security cameras mysteriously malfunction just before the incident.  This is because FDOC staff have the ability to tamper with them and shut them off. One of the many reasons that mounted security cameras are in Special Housing Units is to protect inmate[s] in said units from staff hurting them. The security staff that the mounted cameras are supposed to protect inmates from, shouldn’t have the ability to shut off or tamper with said mounted security cameras. Additionally, we need mounted security cameras in blind spots in our Special Housing Units. Finally, this affiant believes that body cameras should be worn by special housing security staff, because said cameras will stop inmates in said units from being killed or seriously hurt by staff.

Affiant is requesting a federal investigation into FDOC security staff killing and seriously hurting inmates in FDOC Special Housing Units.

Unnotarized Oath

Under penalty of perjury, I swear that everything stated herein is true and correct.

Executive on this 26 day of June 2015.

Affiant: Harold Hempstead  [signature]

D.C. # 268800, 71-114 Lower

Columbia Correctional Institution

210 Southeast Corrections Way

Lake City, Florida 32025


CC: ACLU (Howard Simon)

Amnesty International

Florida Council of Churches

NAACP (Dale Landry)

Florida Legal Services (Peter Sleasman)

Florida Justice Institute (Randall C. Berg)

Disability Rights Florida (David Bower)

Human Rights Defense Center (Lance T. Weber)

Florida Senator Greg Evers

Chief Inspector General for Governor Rick Scott (Melenda Miguel)

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner

Miami Herald (Julie Brown)

New Yorker Magazine (Eyal Press)

[Time] Magazine

Rolling Stone Magazine

USA Today

Tampa Bay Times

New Services of Florida (Jim Saunders)

Florida Times Union (Frank Denton)

Broward Sun Sentinel (Howard Saltz)

Gainesville Sun (Douglas Ray)

Palm Beach Post

Orlando Sentinel

Florida Sentinel Bulletin (Gwen Hayes) (Mary Mead)

Wendy Hempstead

George Mallinckrodt