On 17th March 2017, Katherine Fernandez Rundle formally closed the official enquiry into the death of Darren Rainey at Dade C.I. (prison) Florida, 23rd June, 2012. Mr Rainey died after being locked into a chamber of super-heated steam. The official report that was released to the press that day found ‘no wrongdoing’ in the treatment of Darren Rainey – even though his black skin was steamed off and thrown into the trash. The report went to great lengths to discredit the testimony of Harold Hempstead, Florida’s ‘Caged Crusader’ and the man who did more than anyone else in bringing this event into the public domain and risks his life by doing so. Earlier the same day, or rather in the small hours of the night, Harold Hempstead was woken from sleep, taken into a room with three agents of the state of Florida (prison guards) and slapped to the ground, choked and punched, before being told his property would be trashed and being put on a bus for an unknown location, minus his legal paper-work. For several days his whereabouts were not divulged to his family or anyone else and he was held incommunicado. Eventually it emerged that he had been transported to Tennessee.
These events have generated some media attention and added fuel to the growing debate over what has come to be known as ‘mass-incarceration’ in the United States. This is all to the good, as public perception of USA has yet to catch up with reality. Since capitalist lobbying groups started succeeding in their mission to privatize the prison system back in the 80’s we’ve seen a population explosion of inmates and the USA can now boast of 2.3 million people behind bars. Many Europeans make the mistake of imagining that American prisons are perhaps slightly worse than ours. Sadly, the prisons of Russia, or even China would bear much closer comparison to those of the ostensibly civilized USA. The catalogue of horrors is seemingly endless and the sheer barbarity of the topic is very off-putting for many readers, particularly those used to getting their news down the mainstream. ‘America’, as it likes to call itself, is the world’s richest country and invests a lot of money in movies – America is constantly pumping its own image out to the world – even small children soon learn to ape the accent. The cultural domination is all-pervasive, but there’s a horrific underbelly to it. Not so far from Disneyland in Florida is the prison where Mr Rainey was steamed to death and others were starved, raped and tortured, having been greeted on arrival at the unit with the words “welcome to Auschwitz” by guards who meant what they said. I hope people are not so overwhelmed by the subject matter that they are paralyzed into docility, as action is needed now more than ever if U.S. legislators are to be galvanized into addressing this human rights crisis. They only listen when a lot of people shout and shout very loud indeed.
Agents of the State of Florida have had a major influence over the life of Harold Hempstead since they convinced his vulnerable mother to let them employ him illegally as a child-spy at the age of 13. State agents trained the youth to observe and record events properly, like a real policeman. Being an honest lad at heart, he did so – and was soon reporting irregularities within the St.Petersburg Police Department, including sexual abuse of minors. A train of events was set in motion which ended up with Harold being locked away for 165 years. What can I say about something like that? I’m a blogger, a writer and street-musician. I feel way out of my depth – how can anyone begin to understand prison who has not been there? 165 years? That’s hard to understand. Like a lot of people, I’m trying to make sense of some events that seem to defy sanity. Not only the early life story of Harold Hempstead, but the horrific torture and murder of Darren Rainey.
At Harold’s blog, you can see several of his sworn statements about prison conditions in Florida:
I’ll be updating the Caged Crusader blog soon, with more of Harold’s witness statements. I’m also hoping to find time to go through the Rainey-death-report and look at its many inconsistencies and contradictions – this is, after all, a document that has basically condoned torture and murder – that’s my belief and I know I’m not alone.
Most of the reports that went into world media tell only the tip of the ice-berg. Amongst other things, there is almost no mention of Darren Rainey’s Muslim faith, let alone the death of Daniel Geiger – the inmate for whom the ‘shower-treatment’ was invented in the first place. Geiger was starved and repeatedly tortured by FDC staff in the mental hospital at Dade prison, but he’s not even mentioned as being dead in the report – apparently he’s listed among the living. Daniel Geiger died on 7th November, 2016 in the custody of Florida Department of Corrections. A vital witness in the Rainey case, he was never interviewed by police or anyone else in authority – that opportunity has now passed.
I’d like to thank the people at the Miami Herald newspaper who have done so much to tell the world the story of Darren Rainey and Harold Hempstead.
Miami Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle (Lady Macbeth?)
Email To: Julie Jones, Secretary, Florida Department of Corrections 17th March, 2017
C.C. Media, Human Rights Orgs.
NO CHARGES FOR PRISON GUARDS WHO STEAMED A MENTALLY-DISTURBED, BLACK MUSLIM TO DEATH IN FLORIDA PRISON-HOSPITAL SHOWER BUT HARSH RETALIATION FOR CONVICT/WHISTLE-BLOWER WHO TOLD THE TALE TO MEDIA
(Attachment to Florida Shower Murder Story - Disappearing Witness etc. See 'Caged Crusader')
Dear Secretary Jones,
I am writing to you to express my grave concern over the treatment of one of your charges, Harold Hempstead. You will be familiar with his name as the key witness in the murder of Darren Rainey at Dade C.I. Today, four and three quarter years after Mr Rainey was tortured to death by FDC staff, we have heard that 'no wrongdoing' has been found in the manner of his death and that no charges whatsoever have been brought against anyone involved.
I have also been informed today that Harold Hempstead has been removed from the State of Florida and transferred to the custody of another state. I am under the impression that this move may not be totally legal.
Harold has repeatedly witnessed the crimes of the state and fearlessly documented them. He has further witnessed and documented the retaliation against him and others who use their free speech to speak out against the arbitrary brutality and sadism of certain of the guards. This is how he has come to the attention of international media and the human rights community. A great many people are now taking an increasing interest in his case and his history of advocating for some of society's most vulnerable members.
I am in communication with several members of the British government about the human rights crisis in Florida and you may well be hearing from my government in the very near future.
In the meantime, I would be very grateful if you would tell me where I can address my letters to my friend Harold Hempstead, D.C.# 268866.
Newly released video interview of Harold Hempstead by Julie Brown of the Miami Herald:
To: Caroline Mortimer - The Independent, London. U R G E N T
Re: Your Article: Florida Prosecutors Refuse To Charge Guards For Trapping Prisoner In Hot Shower Until It Killed Him - 18.3.2017
I approached your paper over this story yesterday, offering to provide abundant information direct from my sources in Florida, including Harold Hempstead. Your article has quoted liberally from the official death-report, but has missed some vitally important points. There is a great deal more behind this 'story' that I could inform you about.
By portraying Harold Hempstead as an unreliable witness, you are doing him a terrible disservice. Convicts in USA who speak out about abuse by guards are very likely to be killed, and are killed on a regular basis. Mr Hempstead is in prison for life, and not only gains nothing by witnessing the truth about what happened to Darren Rainey, but is endangering his life by doing so.
Forms of retaliation taken against him have included numerous transfers, depriving him of all his medications and housing him in cells with no less than five convicted murderers. This is because he testifies against ALL the abuse in Florida's prisons and he will not stop witnessing and testifying. He has uncovered systemic starvation, torture and grave violations of the constitution. The US Department of Justice take his allegations seriously enough to be conducting ongoing interviews with him pending a CRIPA investigation.
The same day - 17th March - that State Attorney Rundle announced the finding of 'no wrongdoing' in Mr Rainey's death, Harold Hempstead was transported out of the state of Florida an is, effectively, in secret detention.
Mr Hempstead's history of exploitation by the state of Florida goes back to when he was 13 years old and was illegally recruited as a police spy. Having exposed corruption and sex abuse by the police, he was put away for 165 years on dubious theft charges. His prior history of police-work was deemed 'inadmissible' by the judge who said 'I hope you die in prison'. If you understand the culture of profound corruption and violence in Florida, you'll realize that they wanted Mr Hempstead put out of the way, as he was a problem to the corrupt authorities - he did not 'play the game'.
I can prove to you and your paper that you have grievously misinterpreted the facts about Harold Hempstead and about what happened to Darren Rainey. In the barbaric world of Florida's prisons, life is very cheap indeed and it would be beyond ironic if a guy who risks his life for truth got branded by the media as a liar - giving certain guards more 'reason' to persecute him.
History will sooner or later vindicate Harold Hempstead and show him for the genuine hero he is. When that happens, it would be much better for The Independent if they had shown themselves to be on the side of truth, rather than merely repeating the lies of a demonstrably corrupt government department.
Please contact me to discuss setting the record straight and give me a chance to provide you with the wealth of information I have on this case. Nobody in Europe knows more about this case than me, it's been my main focus for almost a year and I can back up everything I say with facts and evidence. If you care at all for justice, then please talk to me.
With best wishes,
Jeremy Schanche (The ‘Independent’ failed to respond to me about this.)
This article by Eyal Press of The New Yorker is well worth reading, as is his previous expose of FDC, aptly entitled ‘Madness’...
From 28.3.2017 this article is absolutely brilliant for pathological evidence, but fails to do justice to Harold Hempstead and his role in the case, in my opinion. The harrowing details it reveals about 3rd degree burns contrast starkly with the official report. But what about the skin on the stairs? There is no mention of that. I’ve contacted Huff Post and offered the same as I did to the Independent, Guardian and numerous other British and American news sites. Even Buddhist groups, Socialist news services and Black Lives Matter have failed to respond, as did Amnesty International… you get used to this kind of thing after a while.
Email to: Julie Jones, Secretary, Florida Department of Corrections 23rd March, 2017
Dear Secretary Jones,
I hope you can find time to study the articles below. It seems neither reasonable, nor humane to prevent Harold Hempstead (268866) from speaking to his family on the phone and I don't see how this can be constitutional either. Please do the right thing and permit Harold's free speech to resume.
The suppression of his free speech, five days after being transported out of state, is causing intense distress to his family, particularly his 72 year old mother who suffers from confusion and is distraught with worry for her son. This is affecting her health, which in turn has a negative effect on the entire family.
I sincerely ask you to ensure that phone access is restored today.
With best wishes,
(Links were added on the email to wiki articles on: Freedom of Speech in United States, United States Constitution, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and United Nations Convention Against Torture.)
Email to: Julie Jones, Secretary, Florida Dept. of Corrections. 20.3.2017
A great article from Al Jazeera:
Transported to the East….. this story gives an insight into how prisoners are transported from state to state in USA: