Darren Rainey, an inmate at the Dade Correctional Institution in South Florida, was serving a prison sentence for cocaine possession in June 2012, when guards took him out of his cell, forced him into a shower stall and locked the door.
From the outside, they turned the water on scalding hot, possibly as high as 180 degrees, then walked away. As the narrow room filled with steam, Rainey, a 50-year-old with schizophrenia, could be heard screaming, “I can’t take it anymore,” a fellow inmate later said.
After nearly two hours, the guards went in to check on him. Rainey lay dead on his back in three inches of water. His skin had reddened and begun to peel off, flecks of it floating next to him, as the Miami Herald reported.
But a two-year probe of the incident by law enforcement officials has uncovered no evidence of wrongdoing.
On Friday, more than four years after Rainey died, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle released a 101-page report calling Rainey’s death an accident and clearing the four guards involved.
According to the report, nothing turned up in the investigation that met the requirements for filing criminal charges against Sgt. John Fan-Fan, or officers Cornelius Thompson, Ronald Clarke and Edwina Williams.
The report said Rainey died of a combination of factors, including complications from his schizophrenia, an undiagnosed heart disease and “confinement in a shower.”
An attorney for Rainey’s family, Milton Grimes, said that the report was disappointing. “This is not justice for Darren, for his family, nor for the mentally ill who have been subject to similar abuse and mistreatment,” he said.
On June 23, 2012, the night of his death, Rainey had served just a few months of a two-year prison sentence. About 7:30 p.m., he defecated in his cell and smeared feces on himself and on the walls. Guards put him in the shower, telling him they wouldn't let him out until he cleaned himself.