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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Six excessive force cases probed at Raiford prison; Five more officers are placed on leave with pay



The investigation of possible excessive use of force at Union Correctional Institution in Raiford has grown to include incidents that involve six different inmates. Five more prison employees were placed on paid leave Monday, bringing to 10 the total of sidelined staff members.

All are being paid but are prohibited from coming to work, to protect what the state calls the "integrity of the investigation." 

The Department of Corrections said Monday it has turned over information on the use of force to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in cases involving six inmates: Rudolph Rowe, Leslie Smith, Christopher Arnold, Ronnie Daniels, Willie Knight and Frank Smith, who died Sept. 4 in the aftermath of a confrontation with correctional officers.

The state has released no information on any of the cases and has not yet confirmed the death of Smith; his death was confirmed by the Alachua County Medical Examiner in Gainesville.

Prison officials also added these Union C.I. correctional officers to the list of those placed on paid leave: Jermaine Corley, Clinton Hodges, Derrick Searcy, Joshua Bostic and Robert Hill, as part of what the prison system called an "active criminal investigation."

A Department of Corrections press release stated: "The Department's Office of Inspector General had already identified several incidents involving the use of force that resulted in serious injuries to inmates and had initiated investigations into those incidents."

The widening investigation of possible violence at one of Florida's largest and oldest prisons comes as Corrections Secretary Ken Tucker is seeking a new post with an inter-agency drug trafficking task force in Northeast Florida. Tucker, who became chief of the prison system in August 2011, is slated to retire from state government in March of next year. 

Tucker has replaced the warden at Union, moving Barry Reddish to another prison and installing Diane Andrews as his replacement.

[Last modified: Monday, October 8, 2012 6:03pm]


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