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. 


  1. Decomposition???? Then you are negligent to allow prisoner to be left in the shower dead, long enough to decompose. Why was he not noticed as missing in the prisoner head count for several days? This deserves an independant investigation into neglect of the guards, warden, prison itself for any other deaths like this one.

  2. If your assessment is correct, you should have no problem allowing a second opinion.

  3. Peter RossJune 20, 2017

    Prisoner health and welfare is the responsibility of the prison. Prisoners are in the CUSTODY of the prison and its personnel, and their health and welfare is the responsibility of the prison by definition. Why isn't physical trauma inflicted on a prisoner other than by another prisoner or perhaps hunger strike considered strict liability? Darren Rainey is dead and the prison cannot fully or reasonably account for it, and there are signs of trauma. Of course guards and personnel are going to suggest that nothing they did or did not do contributed to his demise —— but why aren't there any corroborating statements from other prisoners who did in fact have the opportunity to also observe the victim, saw trauma, and either confirm or deny what prison guards and personnel are claiming? This is not a fair and open investigation. Thank you.

  4. This sort of abuse goes on in many prisons around the country.


  5. AnonymousJune 28, 2017

    Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle chose to rely on the findings of the Medical Examiner’s report, mysteriously issued more than four years after Mr. Rainey’s death. Why did it take four years for a report to be issued? Two pathologist were consulted by The Miami Herald to do an independent review of the evidence however, Ms. Rundle would not allow an independent review. The only reason she would not allow this is clear. She has something to hide. She needs to be fired along with the warden and guards responsible for what happened to Darren Rainey. The Attorney General, the warden and the guards are a shame and disgrace. Thank you Miami Herald for caring and for your work on this case. It is wonderful that some people care enough to help.

  6. Since the state of Florida has not acted in a responsible manner regarding this death the Federal Government must intervene and determine the cause of death. Then appropriate action must be taken to place responsibility on those culpable in this death. Do we even have a functional government now?

  7. Disgusting. This is at a minimum manslaughter and possibly murder.

  8. AnonymousJuly 28, 2017

    This is murder of the first degree. It was obviously planed by the prison guards and executed by them. Is thin prison run by some private group?


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George Mallinckrodt