Surveillance cameras at Miami-Dade’s juvenile lockup that would have shed light on the final days of 17-year-old Omar Paisley, who died June 9 of a ruptured appendix, will apparently provide no useful information, the Miami Herald says.
Cameras at the 226-bed Regional Juvenile Detention Center never worked properly since their installation nearly a decade ago, say Department of Juvenile Justice records obtained by The Herald. Although they allow real-time monitoring, they don’t record. The department has sought to replace the equipment since 1998 but was never given the money. The Herald learned of the flawed camera system as Miami’s Juvenile Justice Board called on Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle to convene a grand jury to investigate Omar’s death. Other youth and guards at the detention center have told The Herald that Omar, who was in pain and vomiting frequently, pleaded with staff to take him to a hospital for three days before he died.
Roy W. Miller, who heads the Florida Children’s Campaign, a Tallahassee-based advocacy group, said he is “horrified that those responsible [for Omar’s death] may not be held accountable because of a technological deficiency that could have, and should have, been addressed.”
Officials are studying ways to retrofit the detention center with new equipment that can both monitor and record, but cost estimates run as high as $400,000.