The Prosecutor Who Cleared Nick Christie’s Jailers For Pepper-Spraying Him to Death Had a History of Letting Cops Off the Hook

An article published by Reason Magazine illustrates the importance of public records access.  The article recounts the tragic and disturbing tale of Nick Christie, an Ohio man who died in the custody of and at the hands of the Lee County Sheriff’s Department.

Christie, who suffered from serious mental illness was arrested and restrained in a chair.  Sheriff’s deputes also covered his mouth and nose. Christie had previously been diagnosed with emphysema.  The Lee County Sheriff’s deputies then proceeded to pepper spray Christie multiple times over the course of many hours.

Public records reveal that the State Attorney’s office who refused to seek prosecution of the deputies who tortured and killed Christie, has a long history of looking the other way when LEOs are involved with abusive behavior.  It’s a troubling tale that will, inevitably, be repeated.

One of our favorite bloggers, Radley Balko, has published a companion piece that is also a must read.

Gallery | This entry was posted in Civil Rights, Police Brutality. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Prosecutor Who Cleared Nick Christie’s Jailers For Pepper-Spraying Him to Death Had a History of Letting Cops Off the Hook

  1. Pingback: “Strict adherence to (Florida Statute) 119 will be the rule of the day….” | Florida Open Government Watch

  2. Helen Sallen says:

    I enhoyed the newspaper article immensely, please, please keep up the good work. Am well aware of police brutality (with impunity) throughout southwest Florida, especially in Lee and Collier Counties. The article re the unfortunate Mr. Christie is only one of many. The first lawsuit brought by his widow was lost but the second was recently settled quietly in the neighborhood of 7 figures according to the newspaper article. How the Coroner could rule this man’s death as a “homicide” in the first instance and yet lose the case is beyond me and one for the books and rightfully so should bear further investigation. The more recent string of police carelessness resulting in traffic deaths is also very troubling. A “rookie” was reported to be harassing a young woman, never telling her why he was asking her questions, and when she stood her ground, answering his queries, refused to permit “a body search” was tased not once but twice is utterly reprehensible. The lame excuse offered was that “he was a rookie, still in training, etc.” is an insult to anyone’s intelligence. There are people I know who will not venture into Collier County for fear of the overzealous police – they are notorious. There was an incident several years ago at the Ritz Carlton in Naples where a member of the band Rush was brutally beaten on a New Year’s Eve and the lawsuit was quietly settled in the plaintiff’s favor. How many of these incidents go unreported because people are convinced there is no recourse and we have to live under these “licensed thugs and bullies”. No one wants criminals and thugs taking over this lovely city, but no one wants to be constantly afraid and paranoid, constantly checking their mirrors for fear of a stop, even though there is no alcohol involved, no law breaking, no speeding, illegal passing, etc. I myself was so startled by the flash of a bright white light while returning to my home, travelling west on Immokalee Road @ 9:45 pm., doing 35 mph, on a green light, through an intersection, almost went to the police station to complain. Why the picture taking if one is not in the wrong? Fortunately these “cash cows” have been disabled, for the time being. There was an incident of my son ticketed in Charlotte Co. for speeding a few years back; the fine was paid, letters were faxed and received by the Charlotte Co. Police Dept., Traffic Division, Traffic School attended, total compliance with the law. About a month later a notice from Collier Co. was sent to advise us my son’s driving privileges were suspended due to “unpaid fines in Charlotte Co.”, what we logically assumed was a mere bookkeeping error. My husband, an attorney, attempted to contact the Prosecutor in Collier Co. to straighten out this error and they wouldn’t even speak with him, but advised us to retain an attorney fo settle this dispute. There seems to be a “good ole boy” attitude down here which is incomprehensible. We hail from one of the most dangerous cities in the country, Detroit, Mi. and are at a loss to explain this heavyhanded and adversarial attitude towards residents. Thank heaven someone has taken up the cause for justice, no evasion, no contest, we just want justice in the courts and not be insulted, manhandled or tased in the course of a routine traffic stop or other misdemeanors. No one is packing an AK47, most people down here are lawbiding and deserve some respect. I know of someone involved in the first concert at BayFront some weeks back and they had begun to play and shortly thereafter the police showed up demanding that they pull the plug or face jail, despite permits. This concert was a big success as well as others that followed, but yet we are at a loss to understand why the arbitrary reaction to people having a wholesome good time legally, during reasonable hours on a weekend; the concerts reportedly so successful that the people leave @ 10: p.m. or earlier (duration of concerts brief so as to not disturb anyone’s sleep) and patronize surrounding businesses – good for the economy and the community, yet there was a bitter dispute because “people were found having a good time in Collier County and we can’t have that”! Even lovely 5th Av., clearly designed for the tourist trade has to fight City Hall for extra lighting, extra seating outdoors, and restricted entertainment so as to “not disturb” the powers that be. This isn’t Reno, Nevada, This isn’t the wild, wild west, just people having a decent time. Let us bear in mind that tourism is our only industry, so why make things so complicated and difficult it leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth? Maybe its time for the Powers that Be to be replaced with younger, more moderate thinking folks that understand that we are not under Marshal law, no curfew, and are entitled to freedom of our legal activities. The pettiness that plagues us just blows our minds. I attended the first concert cited above and the atmosphere was almost magical, the residents of Bayfront were on their balconies enjoying the concert, people of all ages, including toddlers were dancing and good will seemed to prevail despite the police attempt to shut down the concert. The explanation offered was “too much noise” yet there are other concerts held regularly in Cambier Park and other venues which almost certainly are surrounded by residential communities yet they are permitted to be held. Complaints about “noise traveling over water so that even restaurant noises are heard” tells you the mindset. Have these restaurants been shut down? Are the other concerts cancelled because a limited few rule the City? I would venture to guess that during the Bayfront concert I refer to, not one incident of crime, violence, etc occurred. Thank you for standing up for the residents and I only hope and pray that some compromise can be reached so that most of us, if not all, are happy with the results.

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