TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Four Florida correctional officers were arrested and charged with murder in the fatal beating of a handcuffed prisoner who had thrown urine at one of the officers, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced.
Three officers were arrested Thursday while the fourth was arrested a day later at the Los Angeles International Airport.
The guards were removing the inmate from a cell in the mental health unit of a Miami-Dade County prison on Feb. 14 to transfer him to a north Florida prison. After the inmate threw urine on the officer, they handcuffed him and a beating followed, the department said.
“After the inmate was removed, even though he was in handcuffs and compliant with officer commands, agents say the officers began to beat him. The inmate was beaten so badly he had to be carried to the transport van,” the department said in a news release.
The inmate, who was not identified in the statement, was placed alone in what authorities described as a secure compartment inside the van.
The van made a stop along the way and that was when the inmate was found dead, laying on a bench inside the vehicle, the statement added. A medical examiner said the death was caused by a punctured lung that led to internal bleeding. The inmate also had bruises on his face and torso.
Authorities said three correctional officers were arrested early Thursday: Christopher Rolon, 29, Kirk Walton, 34, and Ronald Connor, 24 and a fourth was arrested Friday: Jeremy Godbolt, 28. Each is charged with second-degree murder, among other offenses.
All were being held without bail, and online jail records didn't list attorneys for the men.