Lawsuit Will Proceed in Case of Florida Inmate Gassed to Death

Lawsuit Will Proceed in Case of Florida Inmate Gassed to Death

Randall Jordan-Aparo, 27, died in September, 2010, after being gassed by corrections officers at Franklin Correctional Institute. He was serving time for credit card fraud.

A lawsuit by his family charges that he was in fact murdered by these corrections officers, and that medical staff and the warden conspired to cover up the particulars of his demise by removing evidence, changing reports and intimidating witnesses.

The Florida Department of Corrections, in 2016, asked that the lawsuit be thrown out. In late November, 2017, Senior U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle denied that request, and the family’s lawsuit will go forward.

Jordan-Aparo’s death is just one of several in recent years in which inmates died under suspicious circumstances, and the Florida Department of Corrections is suspected of destroying or creating evidence regarding the deaths.

Another inmate, Rommell Johnson, 44, also died in 2010 from the effects of gassing. Johnson was severely asthmatic.

Blood Disorder Allegedly Ignored by Florida Dept. of Corrections Officials

Jordan-Aparo suffered from a genetic blood disorder known as Osler-Weber-Rendu disease, a fact well-known to jail officials.

Also known as hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, this rare blood problem results in abnormal blood vessel development in the lungs and other organs, as well as the skin and mucous membranes. Symptoms include gastrointestinal bleeding, anemia, nosebleeds and skin lesions on the nose, lips and fingers.

Dead on the Floor, Covered in Orange Residue

Jordan-Aparo was very sick, with a high fever, pain in his back and blood in his urine and mouth. He asked to go to the hospital – instead, he received Tylenol.

After being told he couldn’t receive emergency medical attention, Jordan-Aparo cursed at a nurse. For that, he was placed into a small cell, and corrections officers gassed him with chemical agents, primarily tear gas and pepper spray. During the incident, other inmates heard him screaming for a nurse and saying he couldn’t take the gas.

He was found dead on the floor of the cell several hours later, naked except for his underwear and covered in orange residue from the gas. From the placement of his body, he appeared to have spent the last minutes of his life trying to get air from a crack below the cell door.

Internal Investigation, No Charges – Really?

A routine investigation by the Franklin Correctional Institute into the circumstances of Jordan-Aparo’s death found nothing amiss with the way Jordan-Aparo’s situation was handled.

However, the Florida Department of Corrections later found out details about the case, and it launched an investigation in conjunction with the FBI. No charges were filed.

Guards Mock Dead Inmate on Social Media – FL Corrections Officers Fail

After the Miami Herald published a story on the federal civil rights lawsuits brought on behalf of Jordan-Aparo’s 13 year old daughter, members of a Florida corrections officer Facebook page mocked the dead man on their site.

Besides calling Jordan-Aparo by numerous expletives, comments included,

“Cost of incarceration, $32,000 .. money well saved!”

“I guess if he wasn’t acting like an ass, he wouldn’t have been gassed in the first place”

“Acts like he carried his medical file with him. Bleeding mouth could have bit himself definitely don’t take him to outside hospital.”

After the newspaper published a story about the correction officers’ remarks, Florida Department of Corrections secretary Julie Jones said she was outraged, adding, “I am immediately launching a full investigation into any current staff member who made an inappropriate remark, and have engaged human resources and our legal office to ensure the strongest possible personnel action, up to termination of employment, can be swiftly taken.”

A Jordan-Aparo family spokesperson said of the comments, “They’re still making jokes about Randall Jordan-Aparo’s death — it’s appalling.”

Randy Jordan-Aparo’s life was short and tragic. His parents committed suicide when he was young, and he and his brother bounced around foster homes, 28 in all. He got involved in petty crime early on, but had no history of violence.

His blood disorder caused him pain and suffering. Perhaps the circumstances of his death can prevent another inmate from losing their life so senselessly and cruelly.

If you or a loved one are a victim of the Florida Department of Corrections’ illegal conduct, call us. We have several investigations ongoing and can use your help – you may also be entitled to compensation from a lawsuit. Call Us at 866.836.4684 or Connect Online to preserve your rights.

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