MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced Thursday the arrest of three Florida correctional officers who are facing murder charges in the fatal beating of a handcuffed prisoner who had thrown urine at one of the officers.
FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen said, “In the past two and a half months, FDLE agents and analysts have worked more than 1,700 hours on this investigation, conducting more than 45 interviews and writing 77 investigative reports so far. I am proud of the work our members have done on this case and our partnership with State Attorney Rundle to ensure justice on behalf of the victim and his family.”READ MORE: Monkeypox Case In Broward County Under Investigation
Authorities identified Ronald Connor, 24, Christopher Rolon, 29, and Kirk Walton, 34 as the officers who were arrested.
Legal documents indicate it happened during the early morning of February 14 of 2022, as an inmate was scheduled to be transferred.
Here is what officials said:
“Prior to being removed from his cell in the mental health unit, the inmate reportedly threw urine on one officer. Correctional officers were able to place handcuffs on him and remove him from his single cell.”READ MORE: Couples Set To Make 2022 A Record Year For Tying The Knot
“After the inmate was removed, even though he was in handcuffs and compliant with officer commands, agents say the officers began to beat him. The inmate was beaten so badly he had to be carried to the transport van. Once inside, he was placed in a secure compartment by himself.”
“On the way to Lake CI, the van made a stop in Ocala where the inmate was found deceased, laying on a bench inside the van. The Medical Examiner determined the death was caused by a punctured lung leading to internal bleeding. In addition, the inmate had injuries to his face and torso consistent with a beating.”
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said, “Staff misconduct, abuse or criminal behavior have no place in Florida’s correctional system. Individuals who are sentenced to incarceration by our criminal courts have lost their freedom but not their basic rights. Inmates should not be subject to forms of ‘back alley’ justice which are actions in violation of Florida law.”
Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Ricky Dixon also had this to say, “What happened, in this case, is completely unacceptable and is not a representation of our system, or of Dade Correctional Institution as a whole. The staff involved in this case failed, and as an agency we will not stand for this. FDC is committed to providing a safe and professional environment for inmates and offenders. All inmates, regardless of their crimes have a right to serve their time free from victimization and abuse.”MORE NEWS: Pedestrian Fatalities In The US Reach Highest Level In 40 Years
Authorities are searching for a fourth officer involved in the case, but did not disclose his identity.