A South Florida man says four inmates beat him while he was waiting to take a shower in a Miami-Dade jail.
Despite being under federal scrutiny, the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center apparently still fails to protect its inmates. Paul Delatour said he was brutally beaten last Saturday – and now some people are calling for the feds to take over the county’s jails.
"You are supposed to be in the hands of respectable people in the community and being choked to death and beaten by strangers, I think this is a dramatic situation for me and my family,” said Delatour, who spoke exclusively with NBC 6 South Florida.
Delatour was rushed by ambulance to Kendall Regional Medical Center. According to Miami-Dade Corrections jail incident reports, his mouth was bleeding and he was having seizures. He also said he had a head injury.
"I'm very emotional and I'm very hurt and I'm still in pain with all the suffering with the head concussion,” Delatour said.
Delatour was behind bars at TGK, accused of burglarizing an unoccupied home and driving with a suspended license.
Ironically, he had already posted bond when the beating occurred, but had not yet been released.
Walter Clark, who is a retired Miami-Dade Corrections employee turned watchdog, is calling for change. Amidst criticism, Miami-Dade Corrections Director Timothy Ryan has agreed to step down in January, but Clark wants him to step down immediately.
"You don't want to be in the system the way it’s going now because there’s a good chance you might not come out in one piece or you may not come out alive,” Clark said.
The federal government has been watching the Miami-Dade jails closely since 2008 because of conditions that it found violated the inmates' constitutional rights. In a recent report, the U.S. Department of Justice said the jails still have a ways to go when it comes to protecting inmates, saying that while some “danger is inherent” in a jail setting, the jail shall implement “appropriate measures to minimize these risks.”
The Team 6 Investigators have been keeping a close eye on Miami-Dade’s jails as well. Besides this beating, NBC 6 has been tracking the number of inmate fatalities. Eight inmates have died in Miami-Dade jails this year alone. By way of comparison, Miami-Dade’s facilities have nearly twice the inmate population of Hillsborough County’s jails, but a death rate since 2011 that is seven times higher.
Clark said Ryan has failed to clean up the jails he runs.
“The problems that have been going on in the department – it’s still happening as we speak,” Clark said.
As in the case of Paul Delatour, he said, "It’s a horrible feeling to know that we are in America and such a thing could happen.”
Clark is calling for the Department of Justice to take over the Miami-Dade jails.
NBC 6 wanted to talk with officials at Miami-Dade Corrections about this latest beating, but was told they cannot comment on an open investigation.
Ryan is due to leave in January. There is no word yet on his replacement.