Florida inmate dies after guards break his neck and leave him to starve


On Oct. 12, 2017, 62-year-old inmate Craig Ridley died in a Florida prison after guards snapped his neck and left him to die. On Wednesday (Oct. 12), the Miami Herald published an article detailing his trauma.

On Sept. 8, 2017, after making a disrespectful comment, the inmate was punched in the face by Sgt. John Nettles. Ridley was then tackled to the floor by ​​Capt. William Jerrels. After the 62-year-old Army vet curled up on the ground in pain, he was instructed to get up. Ridley informed the guards that he could not walk. The corrections officers produced a wheelchair for the inmate, which he allegedly struggled to sit in. “My neck is broke,” he told them.

The Miami Herald obtained video footage of the disturbing incident. After being placed in a cell, the clips show guards Sgt. John Nyitray and Officer Daniel Greene told the inmate, “You’re bulls**ting…You’re just trying to get a lawsuit” when Ridley claimed he was unable to walk. Reports add that after his injuries, the Army vet needed assistance using the bathroom. The corrections officers placed him on a toilet, where he fell over and injured himself again. Ridley was left in a pool of his blood.

Another inmate who saw Ridley struggling called the guards for help. The injured man was taken to a hospital within the prison where doctors said he was fine. He was placed back in a cell, however, over time, his condition began to deteriorate. For weeks, a total of 11 inmates alerted guards that Ridley hadn’t moved or touched his food. By the time corrections officers took the cries for help seriously and transported the Army vet to the hospital, it was too late — he’d succumbed to his injuries.

Ridley was placed in the Florida prison in 2008 after receiving a 20-year sentence for criminal mischief and aggravated assault. Those familiar with him said he was quiet and enjoyed playing chess. His sister, Diane Ridley Gatewood, told the Miami Herald, “This was an inhumane death caused by an abysmal lack of medical treatment. It was torture.” His daughter, Jatoon Moss, filed a civil rights lawsuit against Secretary of the Department of Corrections Ricky Dixon and the facility’s staff.

A medical examiner later determined Ridley’s cause of death to be blunt impact and major spinal cord injury. The inmate also suffered from paralysis in all four limbs, described as “complications of quadriplegia.”