April 15, 2009
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Contact: Public Affairs Office
Tallahassee –Today Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Walter McNeil ordered the immediate termination of five Florida State Prison officers and another resigned under investigation after allegedly abusing an inmate. The terminations and resignation stem from an on-going criminal investigation of an April 8 incident at the Starke prison.
“I want to be crystal clear about this. I will never tolerate inmate abuse. I will take swift, decisive action anytime it occurs,” said Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Walter McNeil. “My goal is to rid the Florida prison system of the handful of employees with this mindset and I will cooperate fully in prosecuting those engaged in criminal acts both on a local level and at the federal level as appropriate. I will also seek revocation of correctional officer certification for these officers.”
Upon completion of the Department investigation, the case will be turned over to the State Attorney’s office for criminal prosecution.
“Our employees are our eyes and ears,” said acting Inspector General Walt Murphree. “Despite this deplorable action by a few officers, the Department’s employees routinely perform their duties faithfully. Each has a duty to report misconduct and I routinely see our employees coming forward reporting incidents and assisting investigators.”
To protect the integrity of the investigation, details of the incident cannot be released at this time. The inmate is receiving appropriate medical care. His injuries are consistent with a physical attack and are not life threatening.
“I will not allow the actions of a relative few to damage the reputation of our employees and the image of this agency,” said Secretary McNeil. “We are a nation of laws and all employees take an oath to uphold the law. This is a violation of the public trust our officers are sworn to uphold.”
Terminated Florida State Prison Officers:
William Hinson, Lieutenant
Anthony Reed, Sergeant
Richard Kross, Sergeant
James Coleman, Sergeant
Charles Reames, Correctional Officer
Raymond Williams, Correctional Officer