July 15, 2017

Judge Orders Medical Examiner to Release Skin Tissue in Autopsy of Inmate’s Shower Death

George's Note: When those in power use every available means to keep the evidence of a murder concealed, the whole unsavory business reeks of a monumental cover-up. Rainey's case was bungled from the beginning starting with detectives who did a shoddy investigation fit for a "criminal." Let's face it folks, this was not going to get the "Michael Jackson" treatment. The cover-up continued with Dr. Lew who took only one skin sample and then invoked a county law to hide her incompetence. I actually spoke to Dr. Lew and told her of the scalding hot water I experienced in my three years of working at Dade CI; therefore, Lew's contention that there was no evidence the water was scalding hot, quite frankly, is wrong, dead wrong! 

Rundle conveniently saddled up on Lew's decrepit donkey and rode it for all it was worth. Let's not forget the Florida Department of Corrections - they scrambled to cover up Rainey's slaughter at every level. Corizon receives mention for the fact that onsite administrators knew of wide-spread abuse and did nothing about it. I've fought for justice for Darren Rainey and his family for 5 years. Maybe now the truth will finally emerge.

Judge orders medical examiner to release skin tissue in autopsy of inmate’s shower death


A federal judge on Friday ordered the Miami-Dade medical examiner to release key evidence in the autopsy of a mentally ill inmate suspected of being scalded to death in a shower at Dade Correctional Institution.
U.S. Magistrate Alicia M. Otazo-Reyes said re-cuts of the inmate’s skin tissue as well as other organs must be sent within 10 days to the victim’s family, as well as two other experts hired by plaintiffs in the case.
The court showdown over autopsy evidence was held after Miami-Dade County officials failed to comply with a subpoena requiring them to send the specimens to an expert hired by his family. County attorneys, citing a provision of the Florida Administrative Code, say that any inspection of tissue samples has to be done in the medical examiner’s office, where the examination would be “supervised.”
The hearing is part of a federal civil rights lawsuit filed against the state and others by Darren Rainey‘s family. The family claims that Rainey, 50, was burned over 90 percent of his body, and his temperature registered over 104 degrees after he was found dead in a shower at Dade Correctional Institution in 2012.
The lawsuit alleges that Rainey — diagnosed with severe schizophrenia — was tortured by corrections officers who used a “shower treatment”’ against him and other mentally ill inmates at the prison. It claims the Florida Department of Corrections and Corizon, the firm responsible for the prison’s healthcare at the time of Rainey’s death, not only knew that mentally ill inmates were being abused at the prison, but allowed staff to cover it up.
The county’s argument about the evidence didn’t hold up because the Rainey family’s attorney, Vicki I. Sarmiento, pointed out that the Miami-Dade medical examiner’s office invoked the state code — even though the office routinely sends out slides of organ and tissue samples to attorneys all over Florida.
“This is quite disturbing,” Sarmiento said.
Lawyers representing three other plaintiffs being sued by Rainey’s family also sided with Sarmiento, saying their forensic experts also said releasing slides is standard practice in the field.
Otazo-Reyes agreed, and ordered that sets of re-cut slides also be sent to forensic pathologists hired by Corizon and experts by the two corrections officers being sued by the family. The officers, Roland Clarke and Cornelius Thompson, were cleared of criminal wrongdoing by Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle in March.
Dr. Werner Spitz, a nationally renowned forensic pathologist based in Michigan, has been hired by Rainey’s family to review the slides. Rainey family attorneys asked for the specimens on May 23, as part of a federal subpoena. They asked the county medical examiner to produce certain specimens, or “re-cuts,” of tissue samples that are embedded in paraffin in a glass slide to preserve them. The subpoena requested that the medical examiner send the re-cuts to Spitz in Michigan.
But the county demanded that Spitz come to Miami to review them in the county’s lab.
Forensic pathologists commonly request re-cuts of autopsy slides in civil and criminal cases to verify the cause and manner of death. Edith Georgi, a retired Miami-Dade public defender, testified that in her 30 years of handling homicide cases, she has never had to get a court order to get slides.
The county’s attorney, Christopher Angell, tried to argue that because the law had not been invoked in the past didn’t mean that it couldn’t be invoked now. Dr. Emma Lew, who took over as chief medical examiner in September, decided to enforce the rule, Angell said.
Lew ruled Rainey’s death an accident, caused by a combination of factors, including his mental illness, heart disease and “confinement to a shower.” Lew said that there was no evidence the shower was too hot, and that his skin — despite massive peeling — showed no sign of burns.
Her findings have been questioned by multiple forensic pathologists, including Spitz, who has written what is widely considered the “bible of forensic pathology’’and has practiced for more than 60 years.
Spitz said he couldn’t recall ever having to go to court to ask a judge to enforce a subpoena for a re-cut of a slide in a closed criminal case. Rainey’s case was closed in March, when Rundle wrote a report concluding there was insufficient evidence to prove that corrections officers did anything criminally wrong.
The shower was rigged so that the controls were in an adjacent mop closet accessible only to guards. 

July 3, 2017

Darren Rainey Family Fights For Skin Sample in Gruesome Prison Shower Death

George's Note: 
This fight for the Rainey family to get information is, in a nutshell, an example of one of the many failings of this supposedly "great country." Why does it seem like the first instinct of these governmental agencies is to cover up their inadequacies instead of admitting there is problem? Is it any wonder how our mistrust of government has grown to monumental proportions?

     JULY 02, 2017 4:01 PM

Darren Rainey family fights for skin sample in gruesome prison shower death

A piece of evidence the size of a postage stamp is the focus of an upcoming court hearing in a federal civil rights lawsuit brought by the family of Darren Rainey, an inmate who died after he was locked by guards in a hot shower at Dade Correctional Institution.
Miami-Dade County officials have not complied with a subpoena requiring them to send a skin tissue specimen, gathered during Rainey’s autopsy, to an expert hired by Rainey’s family, court records show. County attorneys, citing a provision of the Florida Administrative Code, say that any inspection of tissue samples has to be done in the medical examiner’s office, where the examination would be supervised.
The expert hired by the family, Dr. Werner Spitz, is a nationally renowned forensic pathologist based in Michigan. Rainey family attorneys filed a subpoena in federal court on May 23 demanding that the county medical examiner produce certain specimens, or “re-cuts,” of tissue samples that at are embedded in paraffin in a glass slide to preserve them. The subpoena requests that the medical examiner send the re-cuts to Spitz in Michigan.
It is a common practice by forensic pathologists to request re-cuts of various autopsy slides in civil and criminal cases in order to verify the cause and manner of death, according to Spitz.
Miami-Dade’s medical examiner, Dr. Emma Lew, ruled Rainey’s death an accident, caused by a combination of factors, including his mental illness — he was severely schizophrenic — heart disease and “confinement to a shower.’’ Lew said there was no evidence that the shower was too hot, and that his skin — despite massive peeling — showed no sign of thermal injuries or burns.
Her findings have been questioned by multiple forensic pathologists, including Spitz, who has written what is widely considered the “bible of forensic pathology’’and has practiced for more than 60 years.
Spitz said can’t ever recall having to go to court to ask a judge to enforce a subpoena for a re-cut of a slide in a closed criminal case. Rainey’s case was closed in March, when Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle wrote a memo concluding that there was insufficient evidence to prove that corrections officers turned the water up to scalding temperatures.
The shower was rigged so that the controls were in an adjacent mop closet accessible only to guards. Multiple inmates said that it had been used by officers in the prison’s mental health ward to punish unruly prisoners by exposing them to unbearably hot water and steam. Rainey was locked in the shower for more than 90 minutes, records show.
Spitz has worked on some of the most high-profile cases in U.S. history, including the deaths of President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Nicole Brown Simpson and JonBenet Ramsey.
“What we are all trying to get to is the truth,’’ Spitz said. “Why can’t this be done like gentlemen and ladies? This is not necessary to go to court. This is something that’s done all the time.’’
The county also declined to permit an independent review of the slides by Dr. John Marraccini, the former medical examiner in Palm Beach, who offered to do it at no charge as a public service, given the questions that have been raised about Lew’s findings.
Marraccini remains puzzled by the roadblocks placed by the county. He said he has been routinely mailed “re-cuts’’ from the Miami-Dade medical examiner’s office — and has never been forced to review them in their office.
“I get re-cuts mailed to me from Miami-Dade all the time and I’ve never had to come look at them under their supervision,’’ he said.
In their court motion, Rainey’s attorneys attached a copy of a letter from Darren J. Caprara, director of operations for the medical examiner, citing a provision of the Florida Administrative Code that he said prevented the office from sending out re-cuts. The provision, F.A.C. 11G-2.004, says “an independent examination and analysis of physical evidence and embedded tissue is permitted only under the supervision and control of the Medical Examiner.’’
Unlike statutes, which are passed by the Legislature, provisions of the administrative code are adopted by regulatory agencies.
Another expert, Dr. Michael Baden, has disputed Lew’s findings after reviewing the autopsy file and photographs, which show large swaths of Rainey’s skin peeling off his body, revealing areas that paramedics said appeared to be second- and third-degree burns.
Baden, who was on New York State’s prison medical review board for 40 years, said skin slippage such as that indicated in the photos is “hot water trauma” caused only by prolonged exposure to elevated water temperature.
Lew has said the damage involved post-mortem decomposition in a moist environment, and is not an indication that the shower water was inordinately hot.
“I have not heard of a medical examiner office ever refusing to send microscopic slide re-cuts to to the next of kin’s pathologist, especially after the criminal investigation was closed,’’ Baden said.
The motion on the slides is scheduled to be heard in federal court on July 7.
In the motion, Rainey’s attorney, Milton Grimes, contends that the re-cuts are part of routine discovery in any case — and that they are “easily divisible” and “will not affect the preservation or quality of the remaining tissue.’’
He also asserts that the rule cited by the county is not applicable because the case is being heard in federal court.
As part of a public records request, the Herald received more than 100 emails from the medical examiner’s office pertaining to the Rainey case. According to the emails, re-cuts of slides were provided to the FBI, which has expressed interest in the case.
The emails also revealed that the lead prosecutor in the case, Kathleen Hoague, didn’t know until a few months ago that a slide of Rainey’s skin tissue was even collected by the medical examiner. The state attorney’s office began investigating the case in 2014 — two years after Rainey’s death — when the Miami Herald began requesting public records.
Marraccini said that the slides are a critical part of any autopsy because they will show conditions that are not visible to the naked eye. He said the skin sample taken by Lew would be kept indefinitely and re-cuts do not affect the integrity of the original sample. Theoretically, hundreds of re-cuts can be taken from a single slide, he said.
“The real risk for the medical examiner of doing a re-cut is that you may discover something new that you didn’t see from the initial sample,’’ Marraccini said.
In the case of burns, a medical examiner would look for a cellular reaction that may or may not be present in the hours after a victim’s death.
“If you don’t see a reaction and you hang your hat on that and say it’s fresh and the result of post-mortem injuries — and then you take a re-cut and you see a reaction to the injury, then you have a problem. It shows that the injury is not post-mortem,’’ Marraccini said
“In our business, a medical examiner has to be flexible enough to change the cause and manner of death based on the information that becomes available,’’ he added. “In this case, there is no point of keeping specimens if they find excuses not to allow them to be analyzed.’’
The medical examiner’s office did not respond to a request for comment. The Herald also reached out to Miami-Dade’s mayor, Carlos A. Giménez, who oversees the medical examiner, but he was not available.

June 17, 2017

Background Information on Our change.org Petition Seeking an Independent Investigation of Darren Rainey’s Death

Stop Prison Abuse Now
For further information, please contact
Steven Wetstein swetstein2@aol.com 305-226-2480
Background Information on Our change.org Petition Seeking an Independent Investigation of Darren Rainey’s Death
On March 17, 2017, Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle released her findings on the death of Darren Rainey, in 2012. Mr. Rainey was an African-American inmate diagnosed with schizophrenia who was serving a two-year sentence for possession of less than two grams of cocaine. He died in a scalding shower at Dade Correctional Institution, only four months before his release. Inexplicably, his death was not treated as suspicious and no investigation was conducted until 2014, when an inmate witness contacted The Miami Herald, which wrote the first story about his untimely death.
Ms. Rundle decided not to charge anyone in his death, which she ruled accidental. Gruesome autopsy photos and witness accounts by inmates, EMT first responders, and nursing staff offer ample evidence that Mr. Rainey’s death was the result of being burned by excessively hot water. He had been placed in a shower specially rigged so that the water could only be controlled by correctional guards from an adjacent closet. The prison has a documented history of systemic maltreatment and abuse of inmates with mental illness. 
Ms. Rundle chose instead to rely on the findings of the Medical Examiner’s report, mysteriously issued more than four years after Mr. Rainey’s death. This report concluded that Mr. Rainey died from “Schizophrenia, Atherosclerotic Heart Disease and Confinement Inside a Shower Room.” According to the report, the huge areas of skin that peeled off from his body was the result of “slippage of the skin” that occurred after his death.
This conclusion has not been supported by independent pathologists consulted by The Miami Herald, which broke this story and has tirelessly pursued it through a ground-breaking investigative series. The nature of skin damage can be assessed by microscopic tissue examination, yet the Medical Examiner’s report was based on just a single sample. Ms. Rundle refuses to allow independent testing, and has reneged on her previous agreement to let independent pathologist Dr. John Marracini, one of the two pathologists consulted by the Herald, do an independent review of the evidence.
Stop Prison Abuse Now (SPAN) has started a petition to Ms. Rundle, urging that she consent to an independent review of all evidence, so that the truth of Darren Rainey’s death can finally be known. SPAN is a coalition of organizations and concerned individuals committed to protecting the rights of Florida's prisoners, with a special emphasis on those with mental illness. 

May 6, 2017

Graphic Photos Stir Doubts About Darren Rainey’s ‘Accidental’ Prison Death

George's Note: I've put selected crime scene and autopsy photos at the bottom of this email. There is a link to a larger set of photos as well. Rainey's photos are graphic and disturbing. But perhaps not as disturbing as the collective effort by the Florida Department of Corrections, the State Attorney's Office, investigating Detectives, and Medical Examiner Dr. Lew to paint Rainey's death as accidental. 

MAY 06, 2017 9:09 AM

Graphic photos stir doubts about Darren Rainey’s ‘accidental’ prison death


The photographs of Darren Rainey’s body are difficult to look at: skin curling from nearly every part of his body, from the top of his nose to his ankles. Large swaths of exposed body tissue, some of it blood red, and other portions straw yellow. Skin blistering on portions of his face, his ears and his neck. Deep red tissue exposed on his chest, his back, a thigh and an arm. Yellow tissue exposed on his buttocks and left leg.
About the only portion of his body not affected are his feet.
Paramedic Alexander Lopez saw the injuries firsthand that evening, after Rainey collapsed and died in a shower in the mental health unit at Dade Correctional Institution on Jan. 23, 2012.
“[Patient] was found with second- and third-degree burns on 30 percent of his body,’’ Lopez wrote, adding that prison staff told him that “inmate was found on shower floor with hot water running.’’
The autopsy report, which inexplicably took three years to be completed and another year to be released, was puzzling to Rainey’s relatives, who said they were pressured by prison officials to immediately have him cremated.
His death was an “accident,” Miami-Dade Medical Examiner Emma Lew concluded in December 2015. He died from “complications from schizophrenia, heart disease and confinement to a shower.’’
Paramedic Alexander Lopez
Inmates and staff described how after Rainey was carried out of the shower, he was so red he looked like he had been “boiled’’ — and that his skin was peeling off his body “like fruit roll-ups.’’
Since Fernández Rundle announced there would be no charges, the Herald has obtained thousands of pages of reports, emails, testimony and photographs from the state attorney’s office, the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office and the Miami-Dade Police Department —which was the lead investigative agency.
Sources also provided the Herald with postmortem photographs, which journalists shared with Drs. Michael Baden and John Marraccini, both forensic pathologists, for their review. Select photos are published with this story in print and online.
The Herald’s examination of Fernández Rundle’s 101-page report, which summarized a two-year investigation, identified numerous contradictions and omissions regarding both the autopsy findings and other evidence and statements used as the basis to clear the corrections officers.
Lew maintains that Rainey suffered no burns and that there was no trauma to his body, and no credible evidence that the shower had been excessively hot. Lew declined to be interviewed for this story, but did answer some — but not all — written questions submitted by the Herald.
She said she was confident from the beginning that the injuries Rainey suffered were not burns — so confident that she did not take more than one skin tissue sample. A careful examination of skin tissue samples is critical to determining the presence or absence of burns, Marraccini said.
Lew contends Rainey’s skin peeling, also known as sloughing, occurred after his death as part of postmortem decomposition.
“Postmortem [after-death] slippage of the skin was evident during the examination of the body just before autopsy,’’ she wrote. “The slippage was similar to that seen in other bodies.’’
Fernández Rundle said the absence of burns made it impossible to prove that a crime had been committed, since it meant the shower was not dangerously hot. She emphasized that “science” showed that Rainey did not die from the actions of the corrections officers.
However, Marraccini and Baden both told the Herald the photos indicate burns over a significant portion of Rainey’s body.
Marraccini, former medical examiner in Palm Beach County, faulted the Miami-Dade medical examiner for not taking additional skin tissue samples, since it is important to look at skin tissue from the area that suffered the most damage.
The Herald asked Lew to indicate from where on Rainey’s anatomy she took the skin tissue sample. It was one of the questions she did not answer.
“Given that first responders are calling these burns, the prudent thing is to examine them thoroughly to see whether they are pre- or postmortem effects,’’ said Marraccini, adding that photographs shared by the Herald — particularly ones taken in the prison infirmary immediately after he died — raise suspicion.
“You have to assume from the start that these are burns until proven otherwise, not the other way around,’’ Marraccini said.
Baden, who was on New York State’s prison medical review board for 40 years, said skin slippage is “hot water trauma” that can only be caused by prolonged exposure to elevated water temperature.
“I think he suffered thermal burns of his skin. They are not postmortem decomposition. These were heat effects. You don’t decompose in a facility right away. The decomposition takes time,’’ he said.
Lew maintains that the different shades of tissue on Rainey’s body — the deep red vs. the yellow — are the result of slippage that occurred after his death, but at different times.
Marraccini said while it could be true that some of the sloughing happened after Rainey’s death, the deep red tissue signifies thermal injuries.
Explained Baden: “The reddish area happens while the blood is coursing and the heart is beating. Once the heart stops, that doesn’t make the heat effect go away. So there was skin damage while he was alive and further skin damage after he was dead.’’
Marraccini also noted that one of the photographs appear to show bruising on Rainey’s right hand consistent with him banging on the door as some inmates have claimed in their interviews with detectives and the Herald. The state attorney report said investigators found no convincing evidence that Rainey was screaming or banging on the door, and Lew said she detected no bruise on Rainey’s right hand.
The county has refused to allow Marraccini to do an independent study of the skin tissue slide that Lew took from Rainey’s body. The Rainey family has requested that the slide not be released to the Herald. Relatives did not object to the Herald publishing the photos that accompany this story.
Lew said she considered all the evidence, and referred the Herald to her “classification of pending case’’ report, which lists everything she reviewed, including the testimony of a health and safety inspector who said the temperature reading in the shower two days laterwas 160 degrees.
In an interview, Fernández Rundle said she is confident in Lew’s work, so much so that she didn’t ask another medical examiner to review the autopsy despite the years-long delay in completing it.
Lew, who was deputy medical examiner at the time of Rainey’s death, said the case had been on hold awaiting further investigation by Miami-Dade police. Police have said they were waiting for Dr. Lew’s autopsy findings.
The dormant case was revived in April 2014, when the Herald began investigating the death of Rainey, a 50-year-old serving two years for a minor drug conviction, as well as other suspicious deaths at Dade Correctional Institution.
The Rainey family, which has brought a civil suit against the Florida Department of Corrections, believes that police and the medical examiner conspired with prison officials to cover up what happened.
“We are appalled that the state attorney did not look deeper into this case and see the criminality of the people who were involved,” said Milton Grimes, the family’s attorney, on March 17, the day the state attorney’s report was released.
Grimes, who declined to comment for this story, has suggested that police and state attorney investigators gave too much weight to corrections officers’ statements and not enough to the broader context — including evidence that the temperature of the rigged shower was a dangerous 160 degrees when turned on full hot — and that corrections officers had been abusing mentally ill prisoners for years.
Among other things, the Herald has found the following problems with the state attorney’s (SAO) review of Rainey’s death:
The SAO said a paramedic on the scene, Alexander Lopez, “noted that there were no signs of trauma on Rainey’s body...”
In fact, Lopez, who examined Rainey’s body, did not mention in his report if there were or weren’t signs of trauma. But he did write that Rainey “was found with second- and third-degree burns on approximately 30 percent of his body.”
The state attorney also failed to mention that Brittany McLaurin, an investigator with the medical examiner’s office, wrote in a report the day after Rainey’s death: “Visible trauma was noticed throughout the decedent’s body.’’
The SAO dismisses a finding by the prison health and safety inspector, Darlene Dixon, that the hot water in the shower tested at 160 degrees, far higher than is safe. Dixon took the reading two days after Rainey’s death. The state attorney said the reading was questionable for two reasons: Dixon used a meat thermometer and another staff member measured the water at 120 degrees earlier the same day.
In fact, the Herald has learned, Dixon not only told investigators that the shower tested at 160 degrees when on full-hot, but that she had previously put in work orders on multiple occasions asking that the unsafe situation be fixed. Detectives and the state attorney failed to explore or even mention that in the final report.
Dr. John Marraccini, former medical examiner in Palm Beach County
Previous tests that found similar unsafe conditions were taken with a digital thermometer, not a meat thermometer, sources told the Herald.
Furthermore, a meat thermometer, also known as a cooking thermometer, is an acceptable way to test water temperatures. Manufacturers suggest one way to determine the tool’s accuracy is by putting it in boiling water.
The SAO report incorrectly says that another staff member took a reading before Dixon that same Monday after Rainey’s death and that the full-hot temperature was 120 degrees. In fact, Dixon took her reading before the other staff member, the Herald has learned. But she didn’t send an email about the reading until later in the day after the hot water supply had been adjusted and the water retested, by which time it topped off at 120 degrees.
“Why in the official report does Dr. Lew discuss the temperature as being 120 degrees?” said Marraccini. “It doesn’t make any sense when you had a health and safety inspector say it was 160 and he lost so much skin. That skin didn’t come off from black magic.’’
Asked about the four-year time frame for releasing the autopsy, Lew replied that there have been 174 in-custody prison death cases since 2004 that have taken more than a year to investigate.
“We have not found any evidence of abuse in the cases that have been brought to us over the past several years,’’ she added.

​Darren Rainey's Crime Scene and Autopsy Photos​

Autopsy photograph of Rainey’s back.

Crime scene photograph of Rainey’s body in the prison infirmary right after his death. 
The white patches are material that staff used in efforts to revive him.

Crime scene photograph showing Rainey’s right hand and what appears to be a bruise that could have been caused by him banging at the shower door.

Crime scene photo showing the condition of Rainey's eyes.

For all photos go to:

Miami-Dade Democrats Debate Asking State Attorney to Resign Following Darren Rainey Verdict

Image result for miami new times logo
Miami-Dade Democrats Debate Asking State Attorney to Resign Following Darren Rainey Verdict


Even members of Rundle's own party say they're upset. According to a draft resolution that New Times obtained, the Miami-Dade County Democratic Party is mulling a formal resolution asking Rundle to step down after 24 years in office. The resolution, which was written by the party's Civil Rights & Social Justice Committee, has not yet been passed and does not represent the party's official position. The party will hold an Executive Committee meeting at 6 p.m. tonight, where the measure's authors say they intend to ask the rest of the party to vote on whether to censure Rundle.
"The Miami-Dade DEC strongly condemns the State Attorney’s Office stalled and incomplete investigation of Darren Rainey’s death, and therefore urges Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle to resign from office if she cannot pursue justice for all victims of crime, including the most vulnerable," the draft ordinance reads.
A spokesperson for the state attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
There's ongoing debate within the party, however, over whether the text goes too far, or whether the party ought to formally censure one of its own elected members. Juan Cuba, the Dade party chair, tells New Times that the party is currently debating how to best move forward after the state attorney issued her memo closing the case.

"The membership base of the Democratic Party is extremely upset with State Attorney’s decision not to bring charges on the Darren Rainey case," Cuba said. "We agree there should have been charges brought, and we are going to meet with the State Attorney to discuss the case. But there is a process for these resolutions to be heard and voted on, we will go through that process tonight and over the next couple of weeks."
But multiple party members, who spoke to New Times on a condition of anonymity, said the resolution has been forced through an increasingly long series of hoops before a full vote. Several people said they're worried that Rundle-aligned party members are pushing to table the ordinance indefinitely. If passed, the measure would be purely symbolic.

But Cuba says the party agrees that something ought to be said about Rundle's decision. Four weeks ago, Cuba, who hosts his own podcast, conducted a 45-minute long interview about the case with multiple criminal-justice advocates. He wrote online last month that "Too many things in the State Attorney close-out memo just don’t add up," and asked that the state attorney conduct some sort of public forum to discuss her decision-making.
"The State Attorney should have brought Manslaughter charges," Cuba wrote. "Even though it would be a tough case to win, it’s about trust in a system that will pursue justice always."
Cuba directed the party's Civil Rights committee co-chair, lawyer Erica Selig, to draft an ordinance pertaining to the Rainey verdict. But once Selig wrote that ordinance, it passed through a series of subcommittee votes, including a non-binding vote conducted without a quorum. That symbolic vote was intended to push party leaders to put the measure up for a full vote at tonight's Democratic Executive Committee meeting. But the party's leadership declined to put the item on tonight's agenda.
"Generally, people agree that there should have been charges brought," Cuba tells New Times. "How to handle it, or how to move forward, is, I think, the only disagreement on that."
The Miami-Dade County People's Progressive Caucus, the farthest-left body within the county party, issued a statement in March "vehemently condemning" the Rainey decision.
"Katherine Fernandez Rundle has largely remained unscathed by her awful record," that statement reads. "She has been in office since 1993 and usually runs unopposed for reelection. As members of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, and by extension the Florida Democratic Party, the Progressive Caucus is disturbed to have in our ranks a police brutality enabler and apologist."
In Rundle's 24 years as the top county prosecutor, she had not charged a cop for an on-duty shooting until this month, when she charged North Miami cop Jonathan Aledda for shooting Charles Kinsey, an unarmed behavioral therapist attempting to help an autistic man. Some have speculated whether the Aledda charges were some sort of make-up for the Rainey verdict.
Party members can also call resolutions for a vote from the floor at any Executive Committee meeting, but without the measure formally on the agenda tonight, there is no guarantee the party will vote on the item. Selig, who wrote the ordinance, and her subcommittee co-chair, Eric Bason, sent out an email to the entire party at 10 a.m. this morning, stating that they intend to push forward and propose the measure from the floor later this evening:
Dear Fellow DEC Member:
Attached please find a draft resolution prepared by the Civil Rights & Social Justice Committee of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party.
The draft resolution concerns State Attorney Rundle's failure to bring charges in the Darren Rainey case and, also, her refusal to bring charges against any officers for on-duty killings during her 24-year career.
If you are unfamiliar with the case, here is a recent article on it: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/king-fla-inmate-found-dead-shower-held-accountable-article-1.3003358
A longer version of this resolution has been tabled by the Steering Committee and, while it passed through the Issues Committee (by a nonbinding vote), it didn't make it onto the DEC agenda today so we intend to bring this resolution on the floor to the general membership in order to discuss it and vote.
Erica Selig and Eric Bason
Co-Chairs of the Social Justice Committee
"With this resolution, we want to send the strongest message possible that this behavior is unacceptable from any elected politician, let alone a Democrat," Selig told New Times today by phone.
The rest of the ordinance condemns Rundle for enabling abusive law-enforcement officials in the county.
"Mr. Rainey’s death shocked the conscience of Miami-Dade County and the entire country," the draft letter reads. "Katherine Fernandez-Rundle’s inaction does not represent the values of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party supports the dignity of all people, including prisoners in the state’s care. Her failure to hold anyone accountable for Mr. Rainey’s death places the most vulnerable prisoners at risk for more abuse."