MIAMI — The state of Florida fired 32 prison guards Friday as part of an investigation into the deaths of inmates at four state prisons.
The Miami Herald reported Saturday that all of the fired guards were accused of criminal wrongdoing or misconduct in connection with the inmate deaths, which date from 2010 through April.
Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Michael Crews said in a statement released Friday that his agency has a zero-tolerance policy for abuse or corruption and that the firings were part of that policy.
“We continue to root out any and all bad actors who do not live up to our expectations,” he said.
The Teamsters Union, which represents the guards, said the guards were fired without due process. The union said the guards were following protocols established by their bosses, who have not been held accountable.
“The procedure they were following in Charlotte was well known and condoned by the warden,” Teamsters spokesman Bill Curtis said. “Essentially they promoted the people most responsible and liable for the incident and fired everybody else down the chain.”
Inmate Randall Jordan-Aparo, a 27, died at Franklin Correctional in September 2010. Records unearthed by the newspaper show that a now-fired guard ordered Jordan-Aparo gassed as the inmate pleaded to be taken to the hospital for a blood disordered that had flared up. The inmate died later that night.
Darren Rainey, a mentally ill inmate at Dade Correctional, died in June 2012.
After defecating in his cell and refusing to clean it up, Rainey was locked in a closet-like shower by guard, the newspaper reported. After turning on a stream of hot water that Rainey could not control, corrections officers allegedly taunted the inmate as he begged to be let out. Guards left him in the hot chamber for nearly two hours before he collapsed and died.
Inmate Rudolf Rowe died at Union Correctional in August 2012. Five of the guards fired on Friday were accused of using excessive force in his death.
Inmate Matthew Walker died at the Charlotte Correctional Institution on April 11. Eighteen of the fired guards are accused of using inappropriate force in his death.