MIAMI (CBS Miami) — Three Florida correctional officers were denied bond Friday in Miami-Dade County court, one day after being charged with the murder of a handcuffed prisoner who had thrown urine at one of the officers.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said a fourth former correctional officer had also been arrested. He is identified as 28-year-old Jeremy Godbolt.READ MORE: Couples Set To Make 2022 A Record Year For Tying The Knot
“Today is the day of accountability,” said Fernandez Rundle at a news conference as she showed security camera footage that showed the inmate, 60-year-old Ronald Ingram, having no trouble walking before the beating and then needing help walking in order to get to van that was transporting him to the Lake Correctional Institution in Clermont.
The beating reportedly happened away from the view of any surveillance cameras.
The State Attorney told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “We all recognize that abuse and criminal conduct behind bars has no place in the Florida Correctional system. They can not be subject to back alley justice that violates Florida law. Our system of justice demands that those in law enforcement know the duties they have in enforcing the law. The Medical Examiner concluded that Mister Ingram died from blunt force trauma from the assault and a punctured lung where there was internal bleeding that resulted in his death.”
“In the video you first see Mister Ingram propelling himself and his legs appear strong,” she said. After the beating, she said, “Officers are holding him up on either side and he depends on them.”
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Ronald Connor, 24, Christopher Rolon, 29, and Kirk Walton, 34, were in the midst of transferring the inmate from a cell in the mental health unit of a Miami-Dade County prison to a north Florida prison on Feb. 14. However, prior to being removed from his cell, the inmate threw urine on one officer. As a result, they handcuffed him and beat him, the department said.READ MORE: Pedestrian Fatalities In The US Reach Highest Level In 40 Years
“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,” the department said.
The inmate, who was not identified, was then “placed in a secure compartment by himself,” in the van.
“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,” according to the FDLE.
Godbolt, Rolon, Walton, and Connor are each charged with second-degree murder, among other offenses.
Ricky Dixon, Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections, said there have been sweeping changes since the incident at the Dade Correctional Institution. He said a new Warden had been brought in and all corrections officers have received mandatory use of force training and several officers have been removed from the facility.
He said, “No words can express my disappointment with the men involved and how they violated the public trust.”MORE NEWS: College Grads Having No Problem Finding Work
Troy Walker with the FDLE said, “I know I speak for all of us when I say there must be justice for the victim and his family and that is a top priority.”