Thursday, April 23, 2009

FSP officers fired for alleged inmate abuse

By: Mark J. Crawford, Editor

Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Walter McNeil ordered the immediate termination of five Florida State Prison officers and another has resigned following allegations of abusing an inmate.

As a result of an on-going criminal investigation of an April 8 incident at the Starke prison, Lt. William Hinson, Sgt. Anthony Reed, Sgt. Richard Kross, Sgt. James Coleman, officer Charles Reames and officer Raymond Williams all lost their jobs. Reames resigned. The others were fired.

"I want to be crystal clear about this," McNeil said. "I will never tolerate inmate abuse. I will take swift, decisive action anytime it occurs."

McNeil said his goal is to rid the Florida prison system of the handful of employees with this mindset and that he intends to cooperate fully in prosecuting those engaged in criminal acts.

"I will also seek revocation of correctional officer certification for these officers," he said.

Upon completion of the investigation, the case will be turned over to the State Attorney's office for criminal prosecution.

Acting Inspector General Walt Murphree stated that despite these actions by a few officers, the department's employees routinely perform their duties faithfully.

"Each [officer] has a duty to report misconduct and I routinely see our employees coming forward reporting incidents and assisting investigators," said Murphree.
To protect the integrity of the investigation, the state said details of the incident cannot be released at this time. The inmate is receiving appropriate medical care. His injuries are consistent with a physical attack and are not life threatening.

McNeil said he would not allow the actions of a few to damage the reputation of all employees and the image of the Department of Corrections.

There were additional officers placed on administrative leave from FSP pending further investigation.

While details of what happened at the prison were not released, it has been widely reported that an inmate was pulled from his cell and beaten during a power outage believe their actions were not being recorded.

Video cameras were reportedly operational, however.

Several more are on leave from Union Correctional Institution pending investigation into a separate incident. Even less is known about this incident.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The officers got half of what they deserve. I hope the states attorney files charges. The officer know exactly what they are getting themselves into when working at FSP. It is the inmates job to be rude and obnoxious, just as it is the officers job to remain proffesional and handle problems in a way that is legal. Co's think because they wear a poop brown suit and have a badge, that they are better than others. Those officers are Cowards, and don't deserve to be walking the street. If my friends and I beat the crap out of someone, we would be hooked and booked. Correctional Officers are no better than anyone else. THEY SHOULD BE CHARGED AND CONVICTED!!!!