The Miami New Times reports that Florida state attorney Kathy Rundle was asked to resign this week by the Miami-Dade Democrat Party for doing nothing to hold anyone accountable for the death of Darren Rainey. In 2012, 50-year-old schizophrenic named Darren Rainey died at Dade Correctional Institution in Miami-Dade, Florida, after he was allegedly scalded to death by hot water in the showers for not cleaning up his jail cell.
An initial cause of death for Darren Rainey was “slippage,” although paramedics that responded used the word “burns.” A first responder, Alexander Lopez, described second and third-degree burns, reported the Miami Herald.
“Patient was found with second- and third-degree burns on 30 percent of his body…inmate was found on shower floor with hot running.”
In a May, 2017, report, the Miami Herald also noted that it took three years for the autopsy of Darren Rainey to be completed, and an additional year for it to be released. The family of Darren Rainey was reportedly also pressured to cremate him after his death.
Miami Herald reports that fellow inmates have since come forward to say they could hear Darren screaming that night, while guards taunted him and asked, “How do you like your shower, Darren?” The autopsy for Darren Rainey labeled his death as “accidental,” a January, 2016, report in the Miami Herald said. The autopsy report has not been released to the public as the investigation into the death of Darren Rainey has been reopened and is ongoing.
But shortly after Rainey’s death, 46-year-old Mark Joiner, an inmate cleaning the showers, found “a single blue canvas shoe and what he later realized was large chunks of human skin,” reported the Miami Herald in 2014. State attorney Kathy Rundle has not only done nothing to hold individuals accountable in this death, but some of the guards in the institution and incident in question have allegedly even been promoted.
Also since the death, the American Civil Liberties Union has become involved, as has Amnesty International, and the Florida Council of Churches. A petition to former United States Attorney General Eric Holder was also launched by concerned citizens asking for Department of Justice intervention.
This week, the Miami Dade Democratic Party intervened, and passed a non-binding resolution asking state attorney Kathy Rundle to resign from her position. Kathy Rundle is a Democrat.
Since this event took the Florida public by storm, Kathy Rundle has also been caught failing fact checks with the public, and allegedly has a history of blocking people on Twitter for discussing the Darren Rainey case.
Four prison guards were reportedly involved in the death of Darren Rainey. In March of this year, Kathy Rundle said the Darren Rainey death would not be investigated at the institution level. Multiple witnesses allege that he was placed in a shower, and hot water was poured on him until he died.
— Shelia J Clarke (@SheliaJClarke) June 12, 2017
Security camera footage of the night Darren Rainey died from inside the jail shows Darren’s final moments. Camera 13 at 7:35 p.m. Eastern Standard Time shows Darren Rainey being escorted off camera, presumably to the shower. At 7:38 p.m. camera nine catches him being escorted into the shower room, with handcuffs on. At 9:32 p.m., camera nine shows a gurney being brought into the same area.
— Shelia J Clarke (@SheliaJClarke) June 12, 2017
There is no audio in the security footage below. Eight individuals are seen removing the body of Darren Rainey from the showers and do so in less than two minutes, according to the time stamp of the video.
Darren Rainey was serving a two-year-sentence for a cocaine possession charge. One of the inmates who reported what he believed was the murder of Darren Rainey has since been moved out of the prison and was not given a real explanation.
Harold Hempstead is serving life in prison for murder. He was transferred away from the facility after he reported the death of Darren Rainey. His family wasn’t initially told of the move, the Miami Herald revealed in a March, 2017, report.
State attorney Kathy Rundle has some explaining to do. But asking her about it on Twitter may lead to being blocked, notes Grant Stern, in an opinion piece for the Miami Herald. Grant Stern is on the committee that voted for the non-binding resolution calling for the resignation of Kathy Rundle over Darren Rainey’s death.
It was March of this year when state attorney Kathy Rundle made the decision not to criminally prosecute the four guards overseeing the death of Darren Rainey, reported the Miami New Times. She has since faced nothing but backlash over the decision.
This week, the Miami-Dade County Democratic Executive Committee (DEC) passed a resolution calling for her resignation. The author of the resolution, civil rights attorney Erica Selig, read the resolution at the meeting this week.
“Urges Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle to resign from office if she cannot pursue justice for all victims of crime, including the most vulnerable. The Miami-Dade DEC strongly condemns the State Attorney’s Office’s decision not to bring charges against the officers who locked Mr. Rainey in a hot shower for two hours resulting in his death, and the jail’s supervisors who failed to report the crime.”
Selig now reading from text of resolution asking Rundle to resign. Has not been voted on/approved by committee. pic.twitter.com/HryHeh0OD4
— Jerry Iannelli (@jerryiannelli) May 31, 2017
The resolution continues to say the following.
“This follows a pattern over Ms. Rundle’s 24-year tenure as Miami-Dade’s elected SA in which she has repeatedly refused to hold Miami-Dade law enforcement officials accountable for on-duty killings.”
In a May 30 meeting with the Democratic Party, Kathy Rundle attempted to defend herself, saying that she has seen as many as 315 police and correctional officers convicted and “gone to prison for 10 up to 50 years.” She originally said she disputed the notion that she is protecting law enforcement from prosecution. She was speaking to a crowd holding signs saying, “Black Lives Matter” and “Prosecute Rainey’s torturers.”
— Franco Caliz (@FCaliz) May 30, 2017
“When they do commit a crime, they’re going to be held accountable as anybody else,” she said.
But when the Miami Herald conducted a records request to fact check Rundle’s claim, it was revealed that she was making demonstrably false statements to the Democratic Party at the May 30 meeting.
The Miami Herald was given a list of 315 names, but was not told what each of those names was convicted of. When the newspaper pushed for more information, Kathy Rundle walked back her statements about convicting hundreds of law enforcement and sending them to prison for 10 to 50 years.
“It came to my attention yesterday evening that I misspoke at the meeting Tuesday, reference to the prosecution/conviction of police and correction officers. I should have said prosecuted, not convicted. Not all of those prosecuted are convicted.”
The newspaper later received a list of 171 names of those that had been convicted on charges ranging from petty theft to racketeering. John Rivera, the chief of the Miami-Dade Police, reportedly laughed at her “mistake” of “miss-speaking.”
“They’ve maybe had a handful of convictions. They have a habit of categorizing them in such a way to make it appear that they’ve made all these public corruption cases. So for example an officer gets convicted of DUI or domestic violence, they put that down as a conviction under public corruption. Their record is so dismal on public corruption prosecutions that that’s how they do it, to make it look like they have a good record.”
Rivera also says that Rundle is considering a run for the governorship, or at least she was before this week’s non-binding resolution. He says, “she wants to leave with all her flags up.” Rivera also notes that it’s not that she doesn’t go after the police or prison guards, but that she takes too long to bring cases to a close and this leaves both the officers and the victims without closure, “sometimes for years.”
Darren Rainey’s family is still waiting and hoping for justice since his death. Any stalls to any case of this nature also put potential civil trials in limbo and hold up those matters until the victims can see resolution from the criminal side of things.
The case of Darren Rainey was held up for years and remains unresolved. The future of Kathy Rundle’s career remains complicated. Not only was she caught conflating the truth to her own party, but she also was caught reportedly blocking people on Twitter for talking about the case.
Several people at the May 30 meeting contacted Kathy Rundle about Darren Rainey on Twitter expressing criticism of her decisions. They were reportedly blocked.
The citizens were later unblocked “but the chill remains.” In March, Kathy Rundle established a hotline at (305) 547-3300 for Americans to voice concerns over the death of Darren Rainey.
[Feature Image by Lynne Sladky/AP Images]