Miami-Dade handcuffed jail inmate was punched repeatedly (Video) | MassCops

Miami-Dade handcuffed jail inmate was punched repeatedly (Video)

Discussion in 'Law Enforcement Articles' started by RodneyFarva, Jul 26, 2020.

  1. RodneyFarva

    RodneyFarva Get off my lawn!

    In April of last year, a handcuffed jail inmate was punched repeatedly — 15 times with both fists in just over 10 seconds — by a Miami-Dade County corrections officer, a confrontation caught on a jail security video obtained by the Miami Herald.

    The pummeling at the Metro West Detention Center only ended when a second officer stepped in, pushing his colleague off and wrapping his arms around the inmate,Mike Neal. The video, key evidence in a state criminal case and a federal civil rights lawsuit, shows a third corrections officer then also stepping in to separate his fellow guard, Delman Lumpkin, from Neal.

    The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office filed criminal charges in the case — but against the inmate, not the guard. Prosecutors initially charged Neal, 45, with aggravated assault, a felony. But after viewing the video, prosecutors reduced the initial charge to a misdemeanor assault — but they added a new felony charge accusing Neal of “stalking” the corrections officer in the months leading up to the violent jail confrontation. The basis of that charge is unclear.

    Neal’s criminal defense attorney, Marlene Montaner, said she was dumbfounded by the state’s stalking case. Neal is in a jail cell with no access to a phone or any means to stalk a corrections officer, she said, questioning why the charge was brought, especially when video evidence doesn’t support the initial battery allegation against the inmate.

    “It’s a travesty of justice what’s happening with Mike Neal,” Montaner said.

    Neal’s Miami civil attorney, John Byrne, said prosecutors targeted the wrong party.
    “To me it’s really transparent, you have an initial arrest that’s not supported by the evidence,” said Byrne, a former U.S. prosecutor who filed Neal’s federal civil rights lawsuit in May against Lumpkin and other county corrections officers. “After seeing the video, they drop the felony aggravated assault charge and make it a misdemeanor, but then they add this felony stalking charge because they don’t have a case against Mr. Neal anymore. This is how they justify it.”

    No charges have been filed against any of the three guards. But more than a year after charging Neal, prosecutors finally told the defense in a state court filing in June that Lumpkin and the other two corrections officers are under criminal investigation for battery and official misconduct.

    Officials in the state attorney’s office, Miami-Dade’s law office and the county correctional department declined to comment for this story. The department said it could not comment on whether the three corrections officers are still working at the county jail or assigned to other duties, saying there is an “open investigation” into the jail incident.

    Lumpkin’s private attorney, Rhea Grossman, did not respond to requests for comment.

    Before the skirmish on April 12 of last year, there were simmering tensions between Neal and Lumpkin, according to the inmate’s federal lawsuit.
    Neal was being detained at the county jail on an attempted murder charge filed in 2015, but he was later charged with starting fires there while incarcerated. As he awaited trial at the county jail in Doral, Neal had also filed several grievances claiming Lumpkin, the guard, repeatedly threatened him and his supervisors ignored his complaints, the suit says.

    The two clashed after the inmate took a shower and was being escorted in handcuffs through a hallway to his cell, according to the video recording. Lumpkin and Neal seemed to exchange words, and then the corrections officer pushed the inmate twice. Neal, who was handcuffed and holding a cane he uses to walk because of a bad knee, raised his left arm to brush off the officer.

    After the pummeling, Neal walked away escorted by one guard, but his civil lawyer, Bryne, said in the suit that he was then taken on a stretcher to the jail’s medical clinic to treat his injuries. Byrne said he later experienced significant swelling on his face and other trauma following the attack.

    The jail video is the centerpiece of Neal’s federal civil rights case against Lumpkin and other county corrections officers, as well as a state criminal assault case against the inmate himself and a state attorney’s investigation into Lumpkin and the two other guards, according to court records.
    The case is the latest to focus a spotlight on a Miami-Dade correctional system that rarely faces public scrutiny for the alleged brutality of its guards who watch over inmates, mainly because such conduct happens behind closed doors, not in public view like similar police incidents. Over the past decade, state prosecutors have brought a handful of cases against county and state prison guards, including a Florida prison officer charged in June with battery for allegedly slapping a handcuffed inmate in the back of the head.

    But State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle’s handling of one particular high-profile case — the 2012 death of Dade Correctional Institution inmate Darren Rainey from inside a hot shower rigged by prison officers — has become a rallying cry for Black Lives Matter protesters. Fernández Rundle, who has been in office 27 years and faces a challenger in an Aug. 18 Democratic primary race, declined to charge any corrections officers because the Medical Examiner determined Rainey suffered no burns.

    Meanwhile, federal prosecutors have brought three major brutality cases over the past decade against county and state corrections officers accused of beating up youthful offenders, including using a broomstick, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

    A week after the Metro West Detention Center incident last year, Lumpkin told two Miami-Dade police investigators in a video-recorded statement that he got into a verbal dispute with Neal over a commissary issue and that led to the “fight” with the inmate.

    Lumpkin said he tried to separate himself from Neal, who was handcuffed, and the inmate “used his cane as a weapon.” He said Neal “lunged in an attempt to strike me and I backed up. I evaded it, and that’s when we went into a fight and I started to defend myself. ... I hurt my finger in the process.”

    Afterward, Neal was arrested on the initial felony charge of aggravated assault, though after watching the video of the confrontation, prosecutors lowered the assault charge to a misdemeanor but tacked on the stalking offense.

    Byrne said the jail video clearly shows Lumpkin initiated the attack and contradicts the guard’s statement to police that the inmate hit him first with his handcuffed hands and cane.

    Although the state attorney’s assault and stalking case against Neal continues, prosecutors told the inmate’s defense attorney in June that they are now investigating Lumpkin and the two other corrections officers, Pedro Frade and Gillian Ambrose.

    Neal’s civil and criminal cases reveal that he has a history of mental health and physical ailments and has been charged even while in custody with crimes, such as tampering with the Metro West jail’s sprinkler system and electrical outlets. The charges, including arson, are still pending.

    His criminal defense attorney says the beating is just Neal’s last bad experience with the county’s criminal justice system.

    Montaner said he would never have been charged with crimes in jail if he had been able to make a $10,000 bond for an attempted murder charge in 2015, when he was accused of using a knife to stab a man in a local bar.

    Moreover, that case actually was dropped in February — nearly five years after the bar fight — because prosecutors said in a closeout memo that the victim of the stabbing wouldn’t testify against Neal and they acknowledged that the defendant could show he acted in self-defense. Prosecutors also disclosed that Neal had obtained a court stay-away against the man in the bar because he had previously threatened him, and suggested that he “purposely positioned himself near” Neal to provoke him in some way, according to the closeout memo.

    “Even if the victim had been cooperative, there would have been a good self-defense claim,” wrote state prosecutor Ivonne Sanchez-Ledo in the closeout memo dropping the case. “During the physical fight that ensued, the defendant [Neal] pulled a knife on the victim and stabbed him.

    “However, the victim, who is an extremely strong and large man, had the better of the defendant at the time. As such, a jury could have very easily found that the defendant acted in self-defense.”

    Neal’s defense attorney called her client’s treatment by the county jail and state attorney’s office unconscionable.

    Montaner said this isn’t the first instance corrections officers have abused Neal. In August 2019, she demanded that the county correctional department turn over case files of all incidents involving Neal’s ordeal in jail, but it has refused. The state’s assault and stalking case against Neal is at a standstill, with motions for sanctions against the department for failing to provide those documents.

    Montaner said jail inmates often tamper with things like the sprinkler systems as a cry for help when they are left alone in their cells and are ignored by corrections officers. She said for Neal, it was a way to communicate when he was being neglected.

    Prior to being detained on the attempted murder charge in 2015, records show Neal had been charged with other crimes. Between 2000 and 2010, he was charged with theft, possession of cocaine and marijuana with the intent to sell, strong-arm robbery, the battery of a person over the age of 65, as well as forgery.

    “It’s a Pandora’s box of things that have gone wrong,” Montaner said. “But what is true is that he doesn’t belong in jail and what is true is he shouldn’t be there any longer at the mercy of the corrections officers that have beat him senseless like that.”
  2. 02136colonel

    02136colonel Supporting Member

    Why was the first CO on a cell phone before the altercation started? I thought those were not allowed for anyone in a correctional facility?
    The officer who threw that many punches, appears to have been too heavy-handed here, but I don’t get the investigation into the other two, they look like they were trying to de-escalate the incident.
    Shows why you should never handcuff someone in the front though
    Kilvinsky and CCCSD like this.
  3. PG1911

    PG1911 Back Out in the Sticks

    Things are weird in the jails sometimes when it comes to stuff like this. When I was working at my old jail, six officers beat a one-legged inmate senseless, and even ripped off his prosthetic leg and beat him with it. They then lied in their reports about the situation, and the shift commander then tried to delete the video and cover it up. All were fired and charged with aggravated assault, abuse of power, and sworn falsification, but all were acquitted of all the charges...and they were all guilty as hell. We cursed those motherfuckers forever for doing that, because the jail passed a bunch of policies whispered by the good idea fairy that made life horrible for the rest of us.

    But the fact that a liberal county like Miami-Dade didn't charge any of these COs says there's a hell of a lot more to the story than this video.
    That's the case with the majority of facilities but not everywhere. The jail also may just be corrupt and horribly run to the point where COs can blatantly do stuff like bring in cell phones and won't even get a slap on the wrist. That wouldn't surprise me in the least.
    RodneyFarva, res2244 and 02136colonel like this.
  4. CCCSD

    CCCSD MassCops Member

    Inmates are INMATES for a reason.
    zm88, mpd61 and RodneyFarva like this.
  5. RodneyFarva

    RodneyFarva Get off my lawn!

    Not going to lie I giggled like a school girl when I read this.
    CCCSD and PG1911 like this.
  6. northshorepi

    northshorepi New Member

    Was one of the Officers named Terry O'Reilly.....
  7. PG1911

    PG1911 Back Out in the Sticks

    Nope, none of those fatass COs would be able to stand on skates without breaking the ice! :D
    CCCSD likes this.
  8. Kilvinsky

    Kilvinsky I think, therefore I'll never be promoted.

    I resent any reference to being overweight as Weightism. My attorney will be in touch.
    CCCSD and PG1911 like this.
  9. PG1911

    PG1911 Back Out in the Sticks

    I'm sorry, that was the improper term. I think the term is "Glutton-ly abled."
    Kilvinsky and CCCSD like this.
  10. HistoryHound

    HistoryHound Supporting Member

    I prefer horizontally enhanced
    Kilvinsky and PG1911 like this.
  11. CCCSD

    CCCSD MassCops Member

    Tell them you’re a Macrocosm.
    Kilvinsky and PG1911 like this.
  12. Kilvinsky

    Kilvinsky I think, therefore I'll never be promoted.

    I'm my own subculture of society.
    PG1911 likes this.
  13. CCCSD

    CCCSD MassCops Member

    A microcosm of the macrocosm, of the microcosm.

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