Miami corrections official facing charges after inmate pepper-sprayed

Posted at 10:08 AM, May 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-16 10:15:25-04

A colonel at a prison in Miami-Dade is facing charges after officials say he pepper-sprayed an inmate for no reason and it was all caught on camera.

Col. Patrick Riggins, who works at Everglades Correctional Institution, was charged with battery and official misconduct, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office said Tuesday.

Officials said inmate Mazzard McMillan was being temporarily held in the institution's dormitory back on July 27, 2017, when he and other inmates were told to get on the floor.

Surveillance video from the prison that was released Tuesday showed McMillan beginning to comply when Riggins pepper sprayed him "without provocation or justification," the state attorney's office said.

Riggins later directed a captain to compose a false incident report to justify his use of the pepper spray, alleging that McMillan tried to slip out of his hand restraints, officials said.

"All individuals in custody should receive proper treatment and respect," State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement. "The law requires it and our community demands it. The investigation into this incident continues."

Records showed McMillan, 27, was sentenced to 13 years behind bars in 2010 on an attempted second-degree murder charge.

The battery charge is a misdemeanor but the official misconduct is a third-degree felony. Attorney information for Riggins wasn't available.

"The actions of Officer Riggins were unacceptable and do not represent the thousands of FDC officers who work diligently to ensure the safety of the individuals in our custody," the Florida Department of Corrections said in a statement. "Our Department takes all cases of inappropriate and unauthorized force very seriously, and any officer found engaging in this type of misconduct is subject to appropriate discipline."

Story from our news partner NBC 6

Tokyo Olympics Medal Count as of morning of July 24, 2021