Four Florida prison guards now face murder charges for beating a handcuffed prisoner to death, according to the Associated Press and Reuters.
The prisoner was housed in the Miami-Dade County jail’s mental health unit, when he allegedly threw urine on one of the guards when they attempted to transfer him to another prison.
Officers then placed the prisoner in restraints and beat him so severely they punctured one of his lungs, causing him to suffer internal bleeding.
“After the inmate was removed, even though he was in handcuffs and compliant with officer commands, agents say the officers began to beat him,” said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in a news release.
“The inmate was beaten so badly he had to be carried to the transport van.”
The prisoner was later found dead, with multiple contusions on his face and body, when the van made a stop along the route. His body was laying across a bench seat in the van’s secure rear compartment.
Authorities arrested three guards on April 28 while searching for the fourth, who, at the time, remained at large.
The officers are being held without bail in Miami after a circuit court judge found probable cause to charge them with second-degree murder.
“Individuals who are sentenced to incarceration … have lost their freedom but not their basic rights,” said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.
“[They] should not be subject to forms of ‘back alley’ justice.”