Florida Corrections Officer Charged With Murder of Inmate

Michael Riley

Polk County Sheriff\'s Office Former corrections officer Michael Raymond Riley is charged with second-degree murder for the killing of an inmate.

A Lake Correctional Institution Corrections Officer in Florida is accused of murdering an inmate who died in June from injuries sustained as the “result of actions” taken by the officer, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Michael Raymond Riley, 27, was formally charged on November 9 with second-degree murder after a nearly five-month investigation into the death of inmate Christopher Howell, 51,  who died following a use of force incident at the prison near Clermont, Florida, on June 19, according to Spectrum News 13.

Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections, Mike Inch, said in a statement about the arrest:

I appreciate the work of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FDC Office of Inspector General for investigating this case and ensuring appropriate action was taken. The Florida Department of Corrections has zero tolerance for the malicious application of force. We must work to ensure the safety of both the community and those entrusted to our custody. If an officer acts outside of their authorities and the standards of the Department, they will be held accountable. Our agency is rooted in the core values of respect, integrity, courage, selfless service and compassion and these actions are no representation of the dedicated officers who serve daily with these values at the forefront.


Investigators Say the Inmate Was Injured by Riley So Badly That He Was Hospitalized & Died the Next Day

Christopher Howell

Florida Department of CorrectionsChristopher Howell

 

According to The Florida Department of Corrections, Christopher Howell is listed as to have died on June 19  while he was an inmate at Lake Correctional Institution. The attack happened on June 18, but Howell died from his injuries the next day in the hospital.

Howell was serving a four-year sentence for armed robbery in Palm Beach County in 2018.

According to the Florida Department of Corrections, he’d been at the Lake County Prison since February 20, 2019, after being convicted of shoplifting a folding knife from a West Palm Beach Home Depot, then using that knife to threaten a security guard at a Target store who confronted him for stealing portable charges on the same day, according to an arrest affidavit.


Previous Reports Say Howell Was Beaten While Handcuffed When He Refused to Follow a Command & His Neck Was Broken

Florida Department of Corrections

According to the Miami Herald:

Howell was beaten by the corrections officer after refusing a command in his cell and while he was still in handcuffs as two other officers watched but did not intervene, according to inmates and one officer who still works at the prison. The details of the beating are unclear, but multiple people said Howell was left with a broken neck and was dead shortly after the assault, despite attempts to revive him.

Florida State Representative Dianne Hart called for the arrest of Riley three days after Howell died. She said there was “film” that showed how Riley beat Howell. According to Hart, Riley had only been working for the Florida Department of Corrections for a year and prior to serving as a correctional officer at Lake Correctional he had been “removed from another department because of his behavior.”

Hart went on to say, “These brutal attacks must stop in our Florida Correctional Institutions. This is not the first time use of force has caused injury or death at this facility.”

According to Baez Law Firm, anyone with a second-degree murder conviction “will receive at least 16 and three-quarters years in prison without the chance for parole… The judge may also choose to combine those 16 and three-quarter years with one of the following penalties: Up to life in prison; Up to life on probation; Up to $10,000 in fines.

Riley was arrested by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office but was released on bail on November 10.

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