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Mr. FRANK VALDES'S DEATH

And they just keep on killing!

WAKE UP! Please, wake up, sleeping America................

I’ve been trying to tell you all about this place for a long time.

This is the State prison Gary Waid is being held in. He’s non-violent, a firsttimer, a marijuana offender, a FEDERAL good time prisoner who was traded to the Florida STATE DOC last October like a baseball trading card. He came to Florida along with thirty other model prisoners, all drug law offenders from the federal level.

His family, his mother, his lawyer, we have been trying to help get him sent back to the federal prison because of this very thing.

This is the inmate, Mr. Frank Valdes, murdered here, that Gary was talking about. These nine guards beat this man to death. Couldn’t wait for the electric chair. But then again, this prison is full of beatings and threats of beatings. They happen all the time.

"We’ll take you across the road and beat you,” the guards warn prisoners. Men come back from over there bruised and definitely beaten, sometimes for just looking at a guard wrong or not looking at him right.

It happens all the time.....ALL THE TIME!

The men across the road in the work camp are taken over to the Maximum Security prison to be beat. Maybe the guards have a special place where they do it, but everyone in that whole prison complex at Starke is subject to beatings.

And I have a FEDERAL, non-violent, good time prisoner screaming to be let out of that hell hole and nobody listening.

Shame on Florida and damn you, Jeb Bush....Shame on every legislator who ignores the horror stories flowing in a steady stream out of the prisons in America, and damn every legislator who keeps writing new laws to put more nonviolent people in there for longer and longer and longer....

Shame on the human race for ignoring, tolerating and encouraging this monstrous amerikan prison industrial complex to continue to grow. The wrath of God should come down upon all our heads.

This stuff is happening all over the nation at accelerating rates.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO STOP IT?

Stop the torture in American Prisons!

Everytime I ask a BOP or FLORIDA DOC official why, Why do you have a FEDERAL prisoner living in a hellhole of a STATE prison in Florida?

The answer is always the same.....WE DON’T KNOW.  Well, its time someone found out!

Here is Florida’s particular Bush.  fl_governor@eog.state.fl.us

Write and ask why.

Kay ‘damnangry’ Lee

Inmate was fatally beaten

Frank Valdez had broken ribs and boot prints on his body, a state attorney says.

By LUCY MORGAN, SYDNEY P. FREEDBERG and JO BECKER

St. Petersburg Times, published July 20, 1999

A death row inmate whose suspicious death has prompted a criminal investigation suffered broken ribs and boot marks on his upper body after a weekend confrontation with corrections officers at Florida State Prison, a prosecutor said Monday.

Gainesville area State Attorney Rod Smith said he also is looking into a reported delay of several hours between the time of the fight and the time prison authorities sought medical attention for inmate Frank Valdez.

“At first blush it appears that the cause of death had to do with the actions of one or more people in charge of the custody of this individual,” Smith said Monday night.

“I’m told the crap was beat out of him,” Smith said.  “He died from blunt trauma—a beating in all likelihood.”

Nine prison guards have been placed on paid administrativeleave by the Department of Corrections. Smith said the guards, whose names were not disclosed, have hired lawyers and are refusing to talk.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is conducting a criminal investigation into the death. Smith said he has notified federal authorities and advised them that he will take the lead in handling the investigation.

The FDLE briefed Gov. Jeb Bush about the investigation Monday. State Corrections Secretary Michael Moore, whom Bush hired from the South Carolina prison system this year, also was present at Monday’s meeting with the governor.

“This is being taken very, very seriously,” said Bush spokesman Cory Tilley.

An attorney for the guards said Monday night that the incident occurred when officers tried to subdue Valdez after he threatened to kill a guard. “All of what was done was done in compliance with department rules and regulations,” said Gloria W. Fletcher, one of the officers’ lawyers.

Valdez, 36, was sentenced to death for killing corrections officer Fred Griffis in Palm Beach County in 1987.  Valdez, 5 feet 8, 180 pounds, was an unruly inmate who frequently caused trouble with his guards, according to his lawyer and his ex-wife.

Ed O’Hara, the South Florida lawyer who represented Valdez, said his client had told him he was being “dogged” by guards because he killed a corrections officer.

“They would put him in areas they deemed punitive,” O’Hara said.

The lawyer quoted Valdez: “Whatever I do, they make things more difficult for me because they know I’ve been convicted of killing Griffis.”

A gap in time

The episode began late Saturday morning on X-Wing,

the solitary confinement unit that houses the most

disruptive inmates at Florida State Prison

Fletcher, the officers’ attorney, said the prison dispatched a five-member “extraction team” to Valdez’s cell because he had threatened an officer. They went to search his cell for contraband, but Valdez objected.

According to Fletcher, the officers sprayed a chemical agent at Valdez to get him out of his cell. He was taken to another cell. Officers filed what Bradford County Sheriff Bob Milner called a “use of force” report on the incident.

“When an officer did a routine check, he determined Mr. Valdez was in medical distress and he was taken immediately to the clinic,” Fletcher said.

Paramedics were called to Florida State Prison at 3:25 p.m. Valdez was pronounced dead at Shands Hospital in Starke about 4:18 p.m., according to State Attorney Smith.

Smith said he is trying to determine if there was a lapse between the time the altercation occurred and the time prison authorities sought medical attention for him.

“It is unclear,” Smith said. “But there was force used and reports of it were filed, minor injuries were reported and he was returned to his cell. I don’t know how much time elapsed, but when he was found for the last time around 3:15 p.m. Saturday, he was likely dead or dying.”

Bradford County authorities said two paramedics responded to a call of an inmate with a “respiratory problem.” The medics found Valdez in the prison clinic suffering from “a traumatic injury,” said Nelson Green, director of the Bradford County Department of Emergency Services.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement was notified at 4:35 p.m., according to an agency spokeswoman.  Bush’s office was not alerted until the next morning.

An agreement between the FDLE and the state

Department of Corrections mandates that the FDLE be notified any time a homicide, suicide, shooting death or any other suspicious death occurs in Florida’s prisons. The FDLE is also supposed to be notified of any life-threatening injuries in which “death is imminent.”

A long rap sheet

Valdez, who had a long rap sheet for burglary, drug

trafficking and assault on a police officer, was sent to death

row for gunning down corrections officer Fred Griffis, 40, a

highly decorated Vietnam veteran, in 1987. Griffis had just

retired from the Army two months before becoming an officer

at the Glades Correctional Institution in Palm Beach County

Officers Griffis and Steve Turner were transporting a manacled prisoner, James O’Brien, to a doctor’s office when Valdez and an ex-prison pal, William Van Poyck, decided to spring O’Brien.

O’Brien had served previous stretches in Florida prisons with Valdez and Van Poyck.

Griffis was shot three times in the head after he refused to give Valdez and Van Poyck the keys to the van O’Brien was locked in and threw the keys in the bushes.

After arriving on death row in 1990, Valdez and Van Poyck had a series of run-ins with officers, which repeatedly landed both men in the toughest disciplinary units of Florida State Prison. The prison, in rural north central Florida, is home of the electric chair and widely regarded as the most maximum security prison in Florida.

In 1993, Van Poyck challenged what he called overly harsh conditions in solitary confinement, suing the Department of Corrections, said his former lawyer, Randall Berg, executive director of the Florida Justice Institute in Miami.

“The conditions were atrocious,” said Berg, adding that Valdez planned to be a witness at Van Poyck’s court showdown.

Berg said neither man had to testify because the

Corrections Department, rather than risk a court battle, agreed to settle with Van Poyck for what the lawyer said was about $45,000 to $50,000.

“The entire way Van Poyck was treated was based on who he allegedly murdered,” Berg contended.

Little information released

Susan Cary, a Gainesville attorney for death row inmates, said that in the past year she has received complaints from inmates of beatings on X-Wing, the solitary confinement unit where prison officials send the hardest disciplinary cases, including Valdez.

About a year ago, she said, she turned over some complaint letters to federal authorities, but she’s not sure what happened. “It’s really a no man’s land,” she said of the prison.

On Monday, corrections officials refused to talk about the wing, Valdez or the prison. They said they did not want to jeopardize an ongoing investigation.

“Until the investigation is completed, we cannot comment further on this matter,” corrections spokesman C.J.  Drake said in a news release.

Department officials would not say whether any of the suspended guards had been disciplined previously.  They also refused to make public the initial report filed after the incident, even though an assistant attorney general said the report should be public.

Pat Gleason, an assistant for Attorney General Bob Butterworth who specializes in Florida’s public record law, said police agencies must release copies of initial incident reports even when a criminal investigation is ongoing.

She pointed to a 1996 opinion written for St.  Petersburg police Chief Darrel Stephens. In that opinion, Butterworth said initial incident reports are generally considered to be open to public inspection and are not considered criminal intelligence.

 

Times researchers Connie Humburg and Kitty Bennett

contributed  to this report.

Miami Herald Article on Valdez

Frank Valdes

Return to FSP

Contact Kay Lee
2613 Larry Court
Eau Gallie, Florida 32935
321-253-3673
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