Darren Rainey was a schizophrenic man who was locked up in Miami-Dade County prison for cocaine possession. As caged mentally-ill people sometimes do, he smeared shit all over his cell and himself.
Four guards decided to punish him by locking him in the shower and turning it up to 180°F. For two hours, Rainey endured the torture as the guards laughed and asked, “Is it hot enough?”
This was documented by Harold Hempstead, a prisoner who was housed directly above the shower. Guards had been using the shower to punish inmates before, and Hempstead kept track of the names and dates of at least eight other prisoners so tortured.
Hempstead’s diary noted that Rainey screamed, “Please take me out! I can’t take it anymore!” He kicked the doors and yelled in pain until finally he collapsed on the drain, causing the near-boiling water to pool around his body, cooking it.
“He was found crumpled on the floor. When his body was pulled out, nurses said there were burns on 90 percent of his body,” the Miami New Times reported. “A nurse said his body temperature was too high to register with a thermometer. And his skin fell off at the touch.”
That was June 23, 2012.
On Friday, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced that none of the four guards—two of whom have since been promoted—will be facing any criminal charges.
Stella Liebeck won nearly $3 million in punitive damages from McDonald’s when a cup of their 180 degree coffee spilled into her lap, causing third degree burns, but you can lock a man into a 180 degree shower for two hours, burn 90 percent of his body and kill him, and no prosecutable crime took place?
“The shower was itself neither dangerous nor unsafe,” according to the Miami-Dade police’s report. “The evidence does not show that Rainey’s well-being was grossly disregarded by the correctional staff.”
The coroner in this case is blaming Rainey’s death on an undiagnosed heart condition and his schizophrenia.
How many more times will cops get away with this kind of blatant disregard for human life?
Eric Garner—killed by a police officer who put him in an unauthorized choke hold, ignoring his pleas of “I can’t breathe.”
The officer was never indicted by the grand jury.
Freddie Gray—placed in the back of Baltimore police van without seat belts, taken for a “rough ride” by the cops, a drive that jostled Gray in the back of that van like dice in a cup. Gray was killed, found to have three fractured vertebrae and a crushed voice box.
One officer’s trial ended in a mistrial, the other three were found not guilty.
Walter Scott—running from a police officer and shot in the back, all captured on video.
The officer’s trial ended in a mistrial.
The list goes on and on. There are numerous websites that chronicle the cases of people who are routinely killed by the police, police who are then never indicted or whose cases end in mistrial or acquittal.
The cases where cops who kill civilians are found guilty are so rare that when I see one, I gasp in amazement. The case in August 2016, in which a Virginia cop was convicted on voluntary manslaughter charges was the first one I’d seen in three years.
According to the Huffington Post, there were no convictions for murder or manslaughter for cops killing civilians in the line of duty in 2015 or 2014.
And it was the second time that the Virginia cop had killed an unarmed man in the line of duty. He shot a guy 11 times in 2011, but the grand jury did not indict him.
These are the “few bad actors” that our attorney general believes aren’t representative of the rest of police.
“In recent years,” Jeff Sessions said last week in Richmond, Virginia, “law enforcement as a whole has been unfairly maligned and blamed for the unacceptable deeds of a few bad actors.”
Maybe it would be easier for us to hold law enforcement in esteem if, as the attorney general promised, we “enforce our laws and put bad men behind bars,” even if those bad men wear a badge.
Otherwise, there is only so long that a free people with 2nd Amendment rights will put up with this injustice.