Florida inmate fatally beaten while handcuffed


ORLANDO, Fla. – An inmate at a Florida prison died after being beaten by a correction's officer, the Miami Herald reported Monday.

The newspaper said Christopher Howell, 51, was serving a four-year sentence at Lake Correctional Institution when he was killed, according to interviews with inmates and a prison officer.

The paper reported he was beaten while still in handcuffs, but the Florida Department of Corrections declined to comment on the death, saying he was pronounced dead at a hospital Friday.

Howell was“disabled” with a “juvenile disposition," according to an arrest affidavit.

A spokesman for the department said it cannot release the names of officers involved in ongoing investigations, but the Miami Herald reported all officers involved in the incident were put on administrative leave.

The paper said Howell was in handcuffed in his cell when he refused a command and was beaten by an officer as two other officers watched but did not intervene, according to inmates and one officer who still works at the prison.

“Any employee found to have acted inappropriately or illegally faces disciplinary action up to and including dismissal and arrest," the agency said in a statement released Friday. The statement did not include the names of any staff or inmates.

Howell was less than halfway into a four-year sentence for stealing four cell phone chargers and a $8 folding knife. He was charged with theft and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to arrest warrants.