An independent pathologist has confirmed that Miami-Dade State Attorney #KatherineFernandezRundle helped cover up the murder of #DarrenRainey.
Rainey, 50, died at the Dade Correctional Institution in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida, on June 23, 2012. On that day, Rainey, who suffered from schizophrenia, was found dead after about two hours covered in burns from being placed in a piping-hot shower cell that is sometimes used to punish inmates.
Three years ago, a federal judge overruled the objections of the Miami-Date County Medical Examiners Office and requested skin-tissues from Rainey’s body to be released to three experts for more examination. The photos of his body showed skin peeling off his body, which many felt proved that Rainey was suffered a brutal death at the hands of the officers’ actions. However, at the time, Dr. #EmmaLew, the county’s deputy chief medical examiner, ruled the death accidental. In her report, she said the peeling skin marks on Rainey’s corpse were not but burns but rather “skin slippage” caused by the warm, moist environment of the shower, Miami New Times reports.
Three experts were given the opportunity to review the skin samples Lew’s office provided, but the results from their 2017 examination have yet to be released to the public. The outlet reports that could be because the civil case was settled six months later for $4.5 million. But the issue is now being brought back to the forefront in the midst of the race for Miami-Dade state attorney; competitor #MelbaPearson is challenging Katherine Fernandez Rundle over her directions to not filed criminal charges against the officers involved in Rainey’s alleged murder. In 2017, Rundle highlighted Lew’s reports as one of her main reasons for filing charges.
The Miami New Times reports that tissue samples were given to Dr. Werner Spitz, the forensic pathologist who was hired by Rainey’s family, and to Dr. Wayne K. Ross, a forensic pathologist hired by Oscar Marrero, the attorney for correctional officers #RolandClarke and #CorneliusThompson. The two were named as defendants in the civil case. A third set of examples was provided to an unknown expert who was hired by the attorney for Corizon Correctional Healthcare, the company that provides the prison with health care. Because of a confidentiality order, Vicki Sarmiento, a California-based attorney who represented Rainey’s family, said she could not reveal Spitz’s report. But she did say that Spitz’s report is “completely contrary” to Lew’s examination that claimed Rainey did not burn to death from the shower. “There’s no dispute that these were burns. It’s so clear-cut that it defies science that there could be any other finding,” said Sarmiento.
She slammed Lew’s claim that Rainey’s prescribed medication, Haldol, added to Rainey’s death by creating “a predisposition to sudden cardiac death,” causing his body to overheat in the shower. “Haldol does not cause skin to fall off when you’re in a hot shower,” she explained. “Mr. Rainey had been on Haldol in the past, and he had obviously been in showers in the past. It does not cause skin to fall off like that in chunks. It doesn’t cause skin to burn.” Sarmiento disagrees totally with Lew’s findings and says Rainey was “intentionally put in a situation” that led to his death. “It would be our position that it was a homicide,” she says. “I think to just turn a blind eye to what was so obvious to anybody shows from the State Attorney’s Office a willingness to not examine and have an independent view of what was in plain sight,” Sarmiento told New Times. “I think it’s reprehensible that the office didn’t question this.”
She went on to say that Rundle’s decision against prosecuting the officers shows there’s an even bigger issue. “It just sends the wrong message that, well, these horrible things can happen, and as long as nobody is the wiser and we keep this under wraps, then there’s no consequences and no change,” Sarmiento says.