The case of 62-year-old Ohioan Nick Christie is nothing short of disturbing and a quite telling example of the injustices that are now all too rampant of our so-called justice system.
Over two and a half years ago, Nick Christie was on a vacation with his wife Joyce in Lee County, Florida. According to his wife, Nick Christie was reportedly displaying signs of depression and erratic behavior, so she called authorities and asked for him to be taken to a hospital where he could receive his medication.
For some reason which is not made clear in an article by My FOX Tampa Bay, the police arrested Christie for disorderly intoxication instead of taking him to a hospital as she requested.
This is where it begins to get really ugly. According to her lawsuit, Christie was pepper sprayed over a 48-hour period, even while tied up in a restraint chair.
He was forced to a wear a so-called spit hood and for no clear reason was stripped naked while his entire exposed body was subjected to the chemical irritant in ludicrous doses.
The Christie family’s Cleveland, Ohio-based attorney Nick DiCello explains what see in the unsettling photograph of Christie before he was murdered by My FOX Tampa Bay, “This photo is a picture of a man who is strapped to a chair naked inside a jail for hours with a hood over his face.
“That evokes thoughts of being tortured,” he added.
I find this to be a bit of an understatement, as the treatment Christie received is, at least to me, quite clearly torture.
Despite the clearly unnecessary force used by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the Lee County State Attorney actually cleared the Lee County Sheriffs of any wrongdoing.
That not only flies in the face of common sense, it also goes against the findings of the District 21 Medical Examiner who found Christie’s death to be a homicide.
Personally, I don’t understand how someone being stripped, bound, and pepper sprayed to death would be anything but murder yet no single person has been charged with a crime related to Christie’s demise.
As of now it is unclear who exactly made the decision to clear the officers of any responsibility for their actions, but the head of the Felony Division is an individual named Kelly Worcester.
Ironically, the Lee County State Attorney for the Twentieth Judicial Circuit of Florida’s mission statement states, “The rights of the victims of crime shall always be respected and enforced through vigorous and fair prosecution,” which is clearly not what they are doing by any means.
Understandably, Joyce Christie has not given up her quest for justice, even more than two and a half years after his murder.
“I was shocked. This was something out of a horror movie,” she said. Indeed the picture obtained by the local FOX affiliate was quite unpleasant and obviously she has a much more significant emotional tie to the image than most others.
As a veteran of law enforcement for over 30 years, Tom DePolis confirmed that there is no apparent reason why the use of force against Christie could be justified.
DePolis worked at the Tampa Police Department and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and has witnessed what pepper spray can do first hand.
He told My Fox Tampa Bay that he cannot see a reason for the deputies to pepper spray Christie repeatedly as they did seeing that he was already in their custody – not to mention tied to a chair.
“The purpose is to temporarily incapacitate someone – temporarily, that’s the key word, so you can restrain them,” DePolis said.
The truly damning testimony in the case comes from Monshay Gibbs, a deputy trainee at the jail at the time of Christie’s murder.
Testifying under oath in a video deposition, Gibbs stated that she believed the treatment Christie received was excessive. Again, I find this to be a drastic understatement.
“He had a spit mask on and was naked,” Gibbs stated, adding that Christie was begging guards to remove the spit mask because he couldn’t breathe.
Later Christie died at the hospital when his heart failed, due to the shock he experienced from the pepper spray.
Joyce Christie has filed a wrongful death lawsuit, which is scheduled for trial in the middle of next year, leading the Lee County Sheriffs Office refused to give a comment to My Fox Tampa Bay.
This case seems so clear to me that it would be laughable if a man hadn’t lost his life for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
Despite the findings of the medical examiner, the testimony of a deputy trainee, the opinion of veteran law enforcement and even the opinion of one of the developers of weapons-grade pepper spray, Kamran Loghman, not to mention their own mission statement, the Lee County State Attorney denied the Christie family justice.
While Loghman’s comments were specifically aimed at the use of pepper spray on peaceful Occupy Wall Street protesters, they apply even more readily to the case of Christie.
There is absolutely no excuse for using the chemical agent when someone is restrained and in no way a threat to the person using the chemical agent.
I thought the Occupy Davis case was just about as bad as it could get when it comes to the frivolous use of pepper spray, but unfortunately I was quite wrong.
Pepper spraying a bunch of students sitting with their arms interlocked seems almost legitimate compared to pepper spraying a man tied in a restraint chair with a spit mask on in his birthday suit.
Of course, neither instance is justified in any sense of the word but Christie’s case is an especially troubling one.
The fact that no criminal charges were brought against those who murdered Nick Christie is disgusting and monetary compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit hardly seems like it could truly satisfy his family.
In my opinion, not bringing charges against those responsible is not only a travesty of justice but a damning indictment of our entire “justice” system as a whole.
The FOX segment on the case can be seen below:
However, it is worth noting that they erroneously spell the lawyer’s name DiChello for some reason, even though it is DiCello in the article and in this official court filing.