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Investigate Lee County inmate's death, Governor Scott tells FDLE

Jan. 20, 2012
Nicholas Christie / Special to The News-Press


The governor’s office has asked the state’s Department of Law Enforcement to look into the death of a Lee County inmate in 2009.

“On Jan. 5, the FDLE got a request from the governor’s office to review the situation and we are currently doing that,” said Keith Kameg, an FDLE spokesman in Tallahassee. Kameg said he had no further information.

The governor’s office would not comment about the request.

Nicholas Christie, an Ohio resident, died March 31, 2009, after being pepper-sprayed 10 times during a two-day incarceration. The state attorney’s office in July 2010 ruled deputies wouldn’t be prosecuted.

The case recently has received national attention. Christie’s wife Joyce was on NBC’s “Today” show Tuesday morning speaking about her husband’s death.

Nobody at the state attorney’s office was available for comment Friday afternoon.

Joyce Christie, who resides in Girard, Ohio, also was not available for comment.

An investigation by the state attorney's office determined there was no malicious intent or reckless disregard for life when deputies pepper-sprayed Christie.

Two inmates who shared a cell with Christie dispute the investigator's findings.

The medical examiner’s office determined the 62-year-old Christie, who was arrested March 27, 2009, for trespassing, died of cardiac arrest and physiological stress brought on by restraint and “noxious effects of oleoresin capsicum,” or pepper spray.

State attorney's office investigator Kevin Smith reported Christie refused to undergo a medical screening after his arrest, and he didn't reveal his medical conditions — gout, irregular heartbeat, emphysema and back problems.

Christie had been arrested two days before, and his medical history was contained in documents at the jail, but Smith said the files weren't readily available or immediately sought at the time of his second arrest.

Additionally, Smith reported, Christie was combative, banging and rattling the cell door and attempting to spit on jail staff.

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