Three Florida prison officers arrested, charged in beating death of inmate

PHOTO: Michele D’ottavio, EyeEm, Getty Images

  • Three Florida prison officers have been arrested for the murder of a handcuffed inmate.
  • A fourth officer is at large.
  • The men face charges of second-degree murder, conspiracy, aggravated battery of a disabled adult and cruel treatment of a detainee.

Three Florida correctional officers were in custody on Friday after being charged with murder in the beating death of a handcuffed inmate two months ago while he was being taken to another prison.

Officers of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement placed Christopher Rolon, 29, Kirk Walton, 34, and Ronald Connor, 24, under arrest on Thursday. A fourth officer, who was unidentified, was at large, the agency said.

The men, who were being held in Miami, face charges of second-degree murder, conspiracy, aggravated battery of a disabled adult and cruel treatment of a detainee, jail records showed. Attorneys were not listed for the men.

“Individuals who are sentenced to incarceration by our criminal courts have lost their freedom but not their basic rights,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said. “Inmates should not be subject to forms of ‘back alley’ justice which are actions in violation of Florida law.”

Fernandez Rundle was expected to hold a press conference at 14:30 on Friday in Miami.

On 14 February, the officers were bringing an inmate from the mental health unit at the Dade County Correctional Institution to a prison in Lake County, about 300 miles (482 km) north, the statement said. Before he was removed from his cell, the unidentified inmate threw urine at one of the officers.

The officers handcuffed the compliant inmate and removed him from his cell, it said. They then beat the inmate and carried him to a transport van where they placed him in a secure compartment by himself.

During a stop in Ocala, the inmate was found deceased, lying on a bench inside the van. The inmate died as the result of a punctured lung and sustained injuries to his face and torso, it said, citing a medical examiner report.

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