An inmate at Philadelphia’s Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility was moved from his cell after his cellmate, Kevin Massey, attempted raping him in March last year, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. Three days later, Armani Faison, 35, was moved to that same cell. Faison ended up dying in that very same cell after police said Massey raped and killed him.
Faison’s family, in the wake of the incident, recently filed a lawsuit against the city of Philadelphia as well as Corrections Commissioner Blanche Carney and five other prison employees. The deceased man’s family, per the suit, accuses the defendants of being responsible for his death.
The lawsuit alleges that the inmate in the cell Faison was allocated to, had a known violent history. But despite that allegation, prison officials failed to come to the victim’s aid as he shouted for help at the time he was being assaulted.
“Armani has died a horrible death in the prison system of Philadelphia,” Faison’s 63-year-old father, Allrich Jean, said at a press conference to announce the lawsuit on Thursday. “He was tortured by an inmate and no one was there to protect him or help him from the inmate. Basically, what happened to Armani, I don’t want to happen to any other person, any other family.”
Jean, who previously worked at a New York state prison and has since retired, said no official from Philadelphia prisons has reached out to his family to provide details on the circumstances surrounding his son’s death. Jean also said no condolences have been extended.
Besides filing a $20 million lawsuit, the lawyer representing Faison’s family, John Coyle, is asking Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney to replace Carney, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Coyle argues Carney has fallen short at adequately staffing personnel at the city’s prisons, adding that five inmates died over the space of nine months last year as a result.
“This is a complete failure of leadership,” Coyle said. “We ask for Mayor Kenney to do what’s been long overdue, and call for the resignation of Commissioner Carney.”
Allen W. Rogers, another attorney representing Faison’s family, said, “This is every family’s worst nightmare, every person jailed’s worst nightmare, to receive a call that your family member has been killed and so viciously brutalized.
“So, we’re not just seeking justice for this family. We are seeking reform so that no family has to endure what this family has.”
Faison was taken into custody on suspicion of shoplifting, simple assault for tussling with store personnel, and arson. But the arson allegation had to do with Faison setting his pants on fire during detention. The deceased 35-year-old was struggling with mental health problems, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Faison also had a previous conviction and was on probation. As a result, he wasn’t released for the aforementioned charges. He was transferred to the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility where he was placed in the same cell as Massey after three days. That was despite the fact that Massey had tried raping a previous cellmate.
Massey assaulted Faison not too long after the latter was placed in the cell, per the lawsuit. And though the cell’s sprinkler system was activated by Massey at some point, prison officials did not respond even after the place got flooded.
“Armani’s body was found the following morning naked, bloodied, and floating in six inches of water,” the suit stated, adding that the victim sustained scrapes and bruises to his nose, clavicle, shoulder, back, arms, legs, and neck, and extensive internal hemorrhaging, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Faison was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. At the time of the assault, there was no prison guard at the cell unit, the suit stated. The guard assigned to that unit allegedly “abandoned” his post to attend to some duties in the kitchen without making sure there was a cover.
The other defendants in the lawsuit include the guard in question, the guard who instructed him to go to the kitchen, and the guard who placed Faison in that cell. “That such a horrific occurrence could continue for hours without intervention in the Philadelphia Department of Prisons is the shocking but predictable result of the city’s consistent practice of massively understaffing its jails,” the suit stated.
Meanwhile, officials have charged Massey with rape and murder for Faison’s death. He also faces additional charges in connection with the other incident involving his former cellmate.