TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Department of Corrections Secretary Michael Crews is speaking out on the 2012 death of Florida inmate Darren Rainey. Two years ago, he died in a hot scolding shower at the Dade Correctional Institution.
Human rights groups sent a letter asking for a federal investigation, saying the shower was controlled only from the outside and it was punishment.
"That's why we are fully prepared to move forward with any disciplinary actions including terminations," Crews said.
Crews' first action was to suspend warden Jerry Cummings on paid leave. In 2012, a Miami Dade police investigation initially turned up nothing and was recently reopened. Former DOC secretary James McDonough weighed in.
"That department needs strong leadership to ensure that it's run in a proper and humane way," McDonough said.
Steven Andrews represents four investigators who filed a whistleblower complaint against the DOC. They say findings from their reports of misconduct with correctional officers were ignored.
"It took a lot of courage for them to come forward and they did," Andrews said.
Rainey was arrested and convicted in Pinellas County, along with 27-year-old Randall Jordan-Aparo. One of the whistleblowers, Audrey Land, investigated Jordan-Aparo's death. Land was looking into another case at Franklin Correctional and said everyone kept telling him "you know they killed that kid." He said he found that Jordan-Aparo died after being repeatedly gassed by officers.
"If you're going to sentence someone to the death penalty that's one thing, but to sentence a 27-year-old kid to 18 months and have this happen to him is wrong," Andrews added.
As for the Rainey case, the two guards accused of putting him in the shower are still working.