On June 23, 2012, Florida Corrections Officer Roland Clarke locked inmate Darren Rainey in a shower with scalding-hot water as punishment for defecating in his cell. Clarke and his colleagues left the schizophrenic 50-year-old, who was serving a two-year sentence for cocaine possession, screaming inside the shower for two hours. By the time they returned to let him out, he was dead. An autopsy later revealed Rainey’s body had been so badly burned that huge portions of skin were peeling off.
Clarke resigned as a prison guard in July 2014 after a Miami Herald investigation into Rainey’s death raised an international outcry. Prosecutors later declined to charge the guard with a crime, though, and he quickly found work with the Miami Gardens Police Department as a patrol officer.
It didn’t take long for Clarke to start breaking the rules there too.
An internal affairs (IA) file obtained by New Times shows Clarke has been investigated by his department’s IA unit twice for having inappropriate relationships with women while on duty. In the first case, Clarke was suspended for five days in 2016 after investigators found he’d been visiting a woman at her house while he was on the job — though that infraction didn’t stop him from being a finalist for the 2017 Miami-Dade County “Officer of the Year” award.
Now internal investigators are looking into a second, nearly identical allegation, according to emails reviewed by New Times. Audio, photos, and text messages appear to show Clarke again visiting a woman at her home while on duty and in uniform, and even having sex with her on multiple occasions.
Clarke didn’t respond to messages sent to his MGPD email address. Bridgett Hodges Harvey, an attorney representing him in his divorce case, also did not respond to emails or phone calls. Said Miami Gardens Police spokesperson Carolyn Frazer: “He is under investigation right now.” She declined to discuss the case in more detail because the investigation is ongoing.
It’s just the latest case against Clarke since he joined the force in Miami Gardens in January 2014. Before the probes into his sexual activities on the job, he was cited for running a red light in his police truck and crashing into a driver who had a green light. In March 2016, he was reprimanded again, this time for calling a tow truck to pick up a car that belonged to a drowning victim without first securing a cell phone and wallet inside — both of which disappeared before homicide investigators could obtain that important evidence.
Clarke’s first complaint involving sexual relationships at work was filed September 11, 2016, when Miami Gardens Capt. Stacey Rovinelli received a tip alleging the officer, while on duty and in uniform, had repeatedly visited a woman named Kameisha Douglas at her house. But Clarke’s department apparently already knew about his dalliances when he was supposed to be working.
His internal affairs file shows that a month before that complaint, on August 14, he had been warned by a captain and two sergeants to stop “pursuing personal relationships while at work.” The new tip, though, contains evidence he didn’t heed that warning: Three photos taken around 1 a.m. September 7, 2016, show Clarke in uniform with Douglas outside her home. The two are seen touching and kissing, but Clarke was supposed to be patrolling another part of town.
When IA talked to witnesses, they told investigators that they had seen Clarke spend one or two hours at the woman’s house while in uniform several times and that he had allowed Douglas to sit in his patrol vehicle.
Confronted by IA, Clarke admitted to “visiting Ms. Douglas at her residence about four times while he was working.” Douglas’ residence was not in the area Clarke was assigned to patrol. He also admitted that he met the woman “while… at work” and that they “had relations,” but insisted he “never had relations with Douglas while on duty.”
Asked whether Douglas had ever been inside his patrol vehicle, Clarke said, “Once.” But when Captain Rovinelli asked why, Clarke changed his story. He said, “She never sat inside; she looked in it because I went to get something — I — I put my vest on.”
Douglas initially agreed to speak with IA but later backed out. Contacted by New Times, Douglas said she had never been inside Clarke’s police car and had never had sex with him while he was on duty.
Despite those denials, on November 18, 2016, IA determined Clarke had violated the code of conduct by pursuing a personal relationship while on duty and outside his primary area of coverage. But he was given only a five-day suspension.
Others let Clarke off the hook. On March 17, 2017, nearly five years after Darren Rainey was boiled to death in the shower, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle’s office finally closed its investigation into his brutal killing. The office reviewed footage showing Clarke leading Rainey past other showers and into the one that other inmates said was specially rigged so guards could adjust the temperature outside the locked stall as punishment.
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