Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Miami’s Top Prosecutor, Is a Disgrace
Miami-Dade County has had the same prosecutor since Bill Clinton was president. Beginning in 1993, through the Clinton, Bush, Obama, and now Trump eras, she has not once charged a police officer for an on-duty killing.
What Katherine Fernandez Rundle, age 67, has done instead is make decades’ worth of excuses for public officials accused of corruption and murder. When a Miami-Dade cop tasered a man to death, the officer wasn’t charged. When a Miami-Dade cop was fired for shooting an unarmed black man, the officer walked free and was later rehired. When a group of cops lured robbers into the Redland and shot them on video, Rundle declined to charge the officers.
But now, in neglecting to charge the four prison guards who threw a black, schizophrenic inmate, Darren Rainey, into a scalding-hot shower for two hours until he died, Rundle has reached an all-time low.
Rundle’s office announced its decision not to pursue charges in Rainey’s case late Friday afternoon. The news dump was clearly designed to bury the story for the weekend and shield her from criticism. She should not be shielded. The facts of Rainey’s case are grotesque: He was thrown into a 180-degree shower for two hours, and inmates said they heard him screaming that the water was too hot.
Rainey was found dead, crumpled in a heap on the floor of the shower. Nurses who were interviewed at the time said that they saw red burns on his body and that Rainey’s skin was peeling off.
Rundle, however, didn’t believe testimony from nurses and inmates — and instead declined to bring charges against the four implicated guards. Citing an autopsy report (which claimed Rainey did not have burns on his body when he died) that has been criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union, Rundle announced Friday that the four state employees who forced a defenseless prisoner into a scalding shower until he died should go free.