MIAMI — Would you believe me if I told you that in Miami-Dade County a man suffering from schizophrenia was boiled alive in a prison shower by prison guards who later faced no repercussions for this cruel act?
That’s exactly what happened to Darren Rainey. Eight years ago, in June 2012, Rainey was locked in a shower under scalding hot water for over two hours until he collapsed from the burns he endured and died.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle decided not to press charges against those prison guards, despite testimony from other folks in detention, nurses, and a paramedic with the Miami-Dade Fire rescue, stating that Rainey suffered burns across 30 percent of his body and that his skin was peeling off when he was found dead in that shower.
People in Miami-Dade were shocked and disgusted after hearing details of the brutal and cruel treatment Rainey endured, however, for those paying attention to Fernandez Rundle’s record spanning almost three decades, it was not a surprise.
Fernandez Rundle’s tenure as state attorney for Miami-Dade is patterned by her refusal to hold power accountable and she has not charged a police officer for an on-duty killing in over 27 years.
Whether it was Miami Beach police tasering Israel Hernandez to death for merely tagging a building with graffiti, the shooting of unarmed autistic caregiver Charles Kinsey by North Miami Police, Miami Dade police ambushing an allegedly armed mob and executing them in what became known as the Redlands shooting, or the shooting of sixteen year old Sebastian Gregory seven times in the back by a Miami-Dade police officer, Fernandez Rundle always seems to find justification for avoiding prosecution of murderous police officers.
In the past months, the United States has seen massive protests across the country against systemic racism and police brutality. From coast to coast, millions of people took to the streets after the brutal murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis to say they had enough of unaccountable and out of control police officers. The movement for Black lives has been hard at work before and since to lay the groundwork for deep change within our communities.
Dethroning entrenched and corrupt state attorneys like Fernandez Rundle is crucial to ensuring we see justice served across this country. On August 18, primary elections are happening across Florida and Fernandez Rundle will be up for reelection. Floridians will have the opportunity to elect progressive state attorney candidates in counties across the state like Miami-Dade, Broward and Orange.
We, as constituents, can hold Katherine Fernandez Rundle accountable for her failure to stand up for Miami-Dade residents who are victims of state-induced violence. It’s about time that we do. Twenty-seven years is more than enough time to prove yourself worthy of your job.
She has proven herself an absolute failure.
Thomas Kennedy is a communications fellow for Community Change Action. He was a member of the Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign and tweets from @Tomaskenn.