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In wake of Herald probe, DOC launches investigation into allegations that public record was forged


The Florida Department of Corrections has opened a criminal investigation into whether a public record provided by the agency to the Miami Herald was forged.

The document was a form, purportedly filled out and signed by inmate Harold Hempstead, the whistle-blower who in March leaked details to the newspaper about a gruesome death at Dade Correctional Institution, where inmate Darren Rainey collapsed while locked in a brutally hot shower.

Hempstead’s information led the Herald to investigate the Rainey case, as well as other suspicious deaths and possible corruption in the Florida Department of Corrections. By the end of 2014, DCI’s top administrators had been ousted, and the department’s secretary, Michael Crews, had retired.

Last year, in the course of the newspaper’s investigation, Hempstead signed a release giving the Herald blanket permission to obtain all his medical records, waiving the strict health information privacy law known as HIPPA. More here.