On June 19, 2017 Otto Warmbier, tragically died in the United States from tortuous treatment that he suffered while held in a North Korean prison.
On June 12th, 2012, Darren Rainey tragically died in a Florida state prison from tortuous treatment.
Otto Warmbier was 21 years old, when he was sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor in March 2016 for stealing a propaganda poster from his hotel hallway. The taking of the poster was a silly mistake by a young man, while on a vacation tour, but it should never have resulted in any prison time and certainly not his murder. The North Koreans have claimed that Warmbier went into a coma one day after his sentencing from botulism. After 15 months of imprisonment, he was released on June 13, 2017 and sent home one week, before he died on June 19th. Warmbier’s doctors did not find any evidence of botulism, but there was evidence of severe neurological injuries.
A United Nation Human Rights Commission’s 2014 report described, “special torture chambers,” where the North Korean guards used hooks from which people were hung upside-down, needles were inserted under fingernails, and special chili-pepper concoctions were poured down a victim’s nose.
North Korean prisons are known for mass starvation, torture, and death. We may never know exactly what happened to Otto Warmbier, but we do know that a young healthy man suffered so much neurological damage, while in the custody of North Korean guards, one day after his sentencing– that it caused his coma and untimely death.
On June 23, 2012, inmate Darren Rainey, was locked in a locked closet-sized shower by prison guards after defecating in his cell and refusing to clean the mess. Rainey, because of his history of mental health issues, was incarcerated in the mental health unit at the Dade Correctional Unit in Miami, Florida. According to an inmate who worked at the unit as an orderly, the tiny shower was filled with steam and scalding water.
After one hour, the guards checked on Mr. Rainey. One medical document regarding his death noted that his skin was extremely burned and had shriveled from his body. The inmate, Mr. Hempstead, who allegedly witnessed the end of inmate Rainey, filed a grievance complaint,, stating that Mr. Rainey kept screaming, “I can’t take it no more, I’m sorry, I won’t do it again.” According to court records, the water temperature in the shower was approximately 180 degrees.
Miami Herald investigative reporter Julie K. Brown contacted multiple witnesses, inmates and staff members, who revealed that showers were used to scald inmates, who upset the correctional officers. Nurses stated there were burns on 90 percent of Rainey’s body. Prison video shows that Rainey was kept in the shower for 2 hours.
In 2015, Florida Department of Corrections fired 32 correctional officers because of inmates deaths due to criminal misconduct. The deaths occurred at four prisons in Florida. The mass firing included the 4 officers involved in the tragic death of Darren Rainey. No correctional officer was ever charged with the horrible death of Darren Rainey.
Darren Rainey was serving a two-year sentence on a cocaine charge. Darren Rainey died one month before the completion of his sentence.
Unfortunately, we do not have sufficient measures that we can impose on a foreign dictatorship, North Korea, for their inhumane treatment of Otto Warmbier, but we can make damn sure that we do not have any more “Darren Raineys” in the United States.
By: Bradley Schwartz
Founder of prisonpath.com