“My neck is broke. I’m paralyzed,” Craig Ridley cried out from his wheelchair. The jailer responds, “You’re bullsh*tting. You’re just trying to get a lawsuit”. Kalyn Womack from The Root reports that Ridley laid on the floor of his cell for the next five days pleading for help as officers dropped trays of food he couldn’t reach. Just hours before, officers tackled him to the ground, dislocating his neck. A report by the Miami Herald, including details from a 383-page investigation by The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, has shined a light on the hidden story of Ridley’s death. FDLE’s report found Ridley died because of his injuries and starvation. His fellow inmates and family members told investigators his death may have been a cover up.
More about the case from Miami Herald:
That afternoon, Ridley was returned to a confinement cell, this time with no cellmate. Prison staff walked by 19 times that day without entering to check on him, although they occasionally shined a flashlight into his cell, security footage shows. On Sept. 9, staffers walked by 44 times without entering to check on him, then passed by 48 times on Sept. 10, another 41 times on Sept. 11, and 18 times on Sept. 12. No one changed his sheets or offered him a shower.
At least 11 inmates in his cell block reported that Ridley never moved from his bunk, did not pick up his food trays, and that the officers ignored him and said he was faking.
On Sept. 12 Ridley was mumbling unintelligibly and hadn’t moved, per the FDLE’s report. He was taken to Memorial Hospital at 1 a.m. the next morning. By the time his sister, Diane Ridley Gatewood got to him, he’d been intubated. Ridley died the following month. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide.
Ridley’s daughter, Jatoon Moss filed a federal suit against the corrections officers, medical staff, and secretary of the Department of Corrections.
“They think they’re above the system and they can make this go away,” Moss said of the state prison system. But they’re wrong. It’s not just my father,” she said to the Miami Herald. “We have to get as much light as we can on this issue, especially for the Black community. My father was a Black man. I am Black woman.”
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