5 Fla. prison guards fired after abuse allegations

Five corrections officers at Florida State Prison were fired Wednesday and another resigned after allegations they beat an inmate last week.

The inmate, whose name was not released, required treatment at a hospital, but did not suffer life-threatening injuries, said Gretl Plessinger, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Corrections.

“I want to be crystal clear about this. I will never tolerate inmate abuse. I will take swift, decisive action anytime it exists,” Florida Corrections Secretary Walter McNeil said.

Another five Florida State Prison guards remain on administrative leave during the investigation. Not all the five are considered suspects, Plessinger said.

Fired Wednesday were Lt. William Hinson, Sgt. Anthony Reed, Sgt. Richard Kross, Sgt. James Coleman and Correctional Officer Raymond Williams. Correctional Officer Charles Reames resigned.

McNeil said the department will turn over the results of its investigation to the State Attorney’s Office in Gainesville for possible criminal prosecution.

Another four officers are on administrative leave from nearby Union Correctional Institution for an unrelated beating, Plessinger said.

Almost 10 years ago on July 17, 1999, death row inmate Frank Valdes was beaten to death at Florida State Prison. He has fractures to his sternum, vertebrae, nose and jaw, along with numerous internal injuries. There were boot prints on his face, neck, abdomen and back.

Prosecutors contended Valdes was beaten by officers to keep him quiet about inmate abuse.

Trials of four guards for Valdes’ death ended in acquittals, prompting the dropping of charges against several other officers.

source: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/florida/AP/story/1000839.html