Omaha, Nebraska 2021-12-04 05:00:00 –
In June, three Florida prison guards boasting of being white supremacists beat prisoners who shouted, “I can’t breathe!”, Sprayed them with chili, and used stun guns. According to fellow prisoners who reported to the state in a prison near the border with Alabama.
The next day, Jackson correctional facility personnel did it again for another prisoner, a report submitted to the Florida Correctional Bureau’s Inspector General said.
“When you noticed these two incidents, they were of color. They (guards) informed them that they were white supremacists,” wrote inmate Jamal Reynolds. increase. “Black and white officers don’t even mix with each other. Every day, they create a hostile environment that tries to provoke us, giving us a reason to reach out.”
He said both incidents happened from the perspective of surveillance cameras. Reynolds’ well-printed letter contained the exact time and place, and was named after the officers and prisoners. This is a particular type of information that makes it easier for authorities to determine if a report is legitimate. However, the Inspector General’s office did not investigate, said correction spokesman Molly Best. Best provided no further explanation, and the department did not respond to the Associated Press’s August public record request for video.
Some Florida prison guards have publicly advertised their relationship with white supremacist groups and threatened prisoners and black colleagues. system. According to former prison inspectors, current and former officers, correctional authorities regularly receive reports on the membership of Ku Klux Klan and security guards of criminal organizations.
Still, there are few such cases that have been thoroughly investigated by state prison inspectors. Many have been neglected by police officers responsible for cracking down on themselves or discarded as being too complex to track.
“I visited more than 50 (prison) facilities and found this to be an indelible and widespread problem,” said Dianne Hart, Democratic Party of Florida. “It’s partly due to our political situation, but those who work in our prisons don’t seem to be afraid of those who know they are white supremacists.”
People spoken to by AP, who live and work in the Florida prison system, describe it as chronically understaffed and almost out of control. In 2017, three current and former Florida guards who were members of the Ku Klux Klan were convicted after the FBI caught planning to murder a former black prisoner. ..
This summer, a security guard allowed 20-30 members of a white supremacist prisoner group to meet openly in a Florida prison. A black police officer happened during the meeting, they talked to AP and later confronted a colleague who allowed it. Police officers said their case reports regarding the meeting did not go anywhere and the guards who allowed it were not punished.
Officers spoke on anonymous terms, as they were not allowed to discuss the official prison business. They told AP that they didn’t feel safe at work and were about to leave after the report went nowhere.
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According to current and former officers, officers who want to whistle to their colleagues are often banished and labeled as “snitch.”
Mark Caruso, a former sergeant in the Florida Corrections Bureau who was fired twice and returned after whistling a fellow police officer, described the division as the “good old boy” network.
He said the senior officer in charge had the authority to censor allegations of corruption that occurred on the watch. This keeps the report inside the prison wall.
Caruso worked in three prisons in central Florida, reporting numerous beatings of prisoners and misconduct by police officers. Being a whistleblower didn’t work for him. He said he was fired after reporting on a colleague in the first prison where he worked as a sergeant.
After the board union challenged the shooting, he returned and he moved to a new prison. There, he again reported the use of force by the police, and after the union challenged it again, he was dismissed and revived.
In 2019, he reported on another new post, a mission at the Central Florida Reception Center. According to testimony at the union’s grievance hearing, he was soon erased and greeted with a sign on the employee bulletin board with “SNITCH” scribbled in its place. He said another policeman spit on the windshield of his car.
Despite the intimidation, Caruso continued to report prisoner abuse and other misconduct by fellow police officers.
“I reported people when I physically saw them abusing prisoners,” he testified at another grievance hearing earlier this year. AP has obtained a video of a hearing in which several executives and leaders testified in detail about the reporting structure and culture of the system.
Prison officers are required to submit an “incident report” if they find a colleague behaving improperly. In some Florida prisons, supervisors often instruct not to email reports, according to police officers who testified at Caruso’s hearing. Instead, they are told to verbally tell their boss what happened or write it by hand. Your superior then enters it, selects a language, and configures the event.
The sergeant testified that the reason he typed the officer’s case report was mostly because he had a hard time writing. Also, most people do not have access to computers in prison.
Caruso said he refused to report the corruption case verbally because of no records, and was worried that prison leadership would censor his report. So he sent them an email to create an electronic record. This is a decision that has frustrated prison leaders.
After seeing his report go nowhere, he finally crossed the head of his superior. Caruso contacted an investigator in the Inspector General’s office and sent an email directly to Florida Correctional Director Mark Inch. Inch responded to him expressing concern, Caruso said, and introduced the issue to IG’s office. That didn’t work either.
“For at least two years I reported all the corruption I saw (in the IG office). He didn’t respond or follow up,” Caruso said of the Inspector General’s investigator.
Caruso was eventually fired again after officials said he did not report the prisoner’s beating. One Caruso said he didn’t actually witness it. Given his aggressive campaign to report others throughout his orthodontic career, it was a mysterious sin. He failed this time, but claimed that the shooting was in retaliation.
Former investigators told AP when inspectors were motivated to actively investigate reports of abuse by white supremacists and other gang members working as prison officers.
They said it was because state law restricted the use of prisoners as confidential informants, and guards were hesitant or afraid to target colleagues.
According to a former investigator, Florida law restricts interaction between the Inspector General’s office and prisoners, so the FBI must take over the case in order for prisoners to act as informants. .. “We don’t have the authority to do anything,” said one.
Meanwhile, officers are afraid of retaliation.
“Executives say colleagues are members, but they can kill me,” said one former investigator.
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Florida’s corrective spokeswoman Michelle Grady is more than a white supremacist working in prison after three Florida guards were captured by the FBI’s records of attempting to kill a black prisoner at the time of his release. He claimed that there were no signs of widespread problems.
Following the statement, in April AP reporters visited an employee parking lot at a facility in the northern part of the state and took pictures of cars and trucks decorated with symbols and stickers often associated with the white supremacist movement. .. Image of South Army flag, Q-Anon, Thin blue line.
Florida has been tackling this problem for decades. In the early 2000s, the St. Petersburg Times exposure forced the correction department to investigate a group of racist guards, all with rope and rope keychains. The Times reported that rope key chains were used to signal racist police officers who were particularly willing to hurt black prisoners.
The state investigated keychains and complaints from black guards of discrimination at work. Department inspectors interviewed white guards known to have rope keychains and eventually cleared them all.
“This is a national pattern,” said Paul Wright, a former prisoner who co-founded Prison Legal News, a publication on prisoner rights. Wright helped expose members of the Ku Klux Klan who worked in a Washington prison in the 1990s. He and Prison Legal News have since reported the cases of Nazi and Clan members working as correctors in California, New York, Texas, Illinois and many other states.
“This kind of racism is institutionally accepted,” Wright said. “The amazing thing about this is that so many of them continue to work.”
Prisons and police stations in most states across the United States have done few background checks to see if new employees have a radical view, according to the former chief of the FBI’s New York domestic terrorist team. Yes, it is currently cooperating with the Anti-Defamation Federation.
“There are 513 police agencies in New Jersey, and no agency has banned them from being part of an outlaw motorcycle gang. Prison guards who are members patched by pagans have an employment contract. You can go out and talk to you (without punishment) about it because it’s not stipulated in, “Ehrie said. ADL lists the heathens in the biker gang who belong to the white supremacist group.
This dynamics could lead to what former Florida prison investigators described as “criminals watching criminals.”
“If you have heart rate, GED, and no felony conviction, you can get a job. That’s sad,” said Caruso, a former Florida orthodontic sergeant.
Florida’s Congressmen Hart and Caruso are calling for a thorough investigation into this issue and a federal takeover of the prison system.
The FBI said it would neither confirm nor deny whether such an investigation had begun, but Ehrie said it was likely.
“I would have been very surprised if this wasn’t a public agency investigation,” he said of the Florida prison system. “It’s almost impossible that they haven’t investigated.”
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Meanwhile, prisoners and current and former Florida orthodontic officials continue to report racist behavior by orthodontic officers.
In late September, another Panhandle prison reported that a 25-year-old black prisoner had been beaten by a white police officer. The prisoner’s lips were torn and his face was swollen.
The prisoner’s family demanded anonymity for fear of retaliation.
His mother reported the incident to the Inspector General’s office on October 1 and requested his medical examination. According to an email provided by the family, the office sent an investigator to the facility to interview her son.
After the interview, IG refused to investigate the behavior of the officers. The mother was told that it was the words of her son vs. the words of the officers, and there was nothing they could do. The IG office instead referred the problem to a prison officer.
The policeman continued to work in the prisoner’s dormitory and threatened him, the prisoner wrote to his house.
“They are all clicks, gangsters. Oh, feel me, they all work together,” the inmate wrote in October. For weeks he sent a desperate letter saying he was still in fear. He urged his mother to keep fighting.
“Don’t give up mom. This has ruined my spirit very much. It gave me a shell shock, didn’t feel a man too much, and violated you feel me? But I do you I love you.”
According to her family and current officers, she eventually helped him be transferred to a facility reputed to be even more lawless and brutal in early November. He has been sentenced to four years in prison and 12 years in prison for attempted robbery with guns and deadly weapons.
“I’m looking forward to seeing my son someday. I can only pray,” the mother told AP. “I’m overwhelmed, tired, and working hard for my son.”
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