TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Department of Corrections Secretary Michael Crews is speaking out on the 2012 death of Florida inmate Darren Rainey. Two years ago, he died in a scalding shower at the Dade Correctional Institution.
Human rights groups sent a letter calling for a federal investigation, saying the shower was controlled only from the outside and it was punishment.
"That's why we are fully prepared to move forward with any disciplinary actions including terminations," Crews said.
Crews' first action was to place warden Jerry Cummings on paid leave. A Miami Dade police investigation into the death launched in 2012 turned up nothing, but was recently reopened.
"That department needs strong leadership to ensure that it's run in a proper and humane way," said former DOC secretary James McDonough.
Steven Andrews represents four investigators who filed a whistleblower complaint against the agency. They say findings from their reports of misconduct with correctional officers were ignored.
"It took a lot of courage for them to come forward and they did," Andrews said.
Rainey was arrested and convicted in Pinellas County, along with 27-year-old Randall Jordan-Aparo. One of the whistleblowers, Audrey Land, investigated Jordan-Aparo's death.
Land was looking into another case at Franklin Correctional and said everyone kept telling him, "You know they killed that kid." He said he found that Jordan-Aparo died after being repeatedly gassed by officers.
"If you're going to sentence someone to the death penalty that's one thing, but to sentence a 27-year-old kid to 18 months and have this happen to him is wrong," Andrews added.
As for the Rainey case, the two guards accused of putting him in the shower are still working.