The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate the death of a Marathon man who died after experiencing medical problems while being taken to jail in a police car in Tavernier.
"Our role is to determine the facts of the case and provide that information to the state attorney. During this initial phase of the investigation, agents will be conducting interviews and developing a timeline," spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said.
Clifford Green, 39, died shortly after he was pulled over by Monroe County Sheriff's Office Detective Iscandel Perez at mile 98.5 marker southbound for driving a 1992 Buick Park Avenue whose windows Perez deemed tinted too dark. Perez had been traveling northbound at mile marker 100 when he saw the Buick go by and turned around to pull it over. It was around 1:20 p.m. Wednesday.
Green, Perez wrote in a report, was "fidgeting about inside of the vehicle" before pulling over at mile marker 98.5.
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Perez wrote that a computer check showed Green's license was suspended for failure to pay child support and that he was on probation for a drug conviction.
Deputy Matthew Koval arrived at the scene and they arrested Green on a charge of driving with a suspended license.
Meanwhile, Perez searched the outside of the Buick using a K-9 dog and the dog "alerted to the presence of narcotics on the passenger's side front door," the detective wrote. Then Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Michael Jordan arrived and he and Perez searched the inside of the car.
Jordan, Perez wrote, found "a beaker and large quantity of blue clear plastic Baggies commonly used to package narcotics inside a paper bag in the back seat of the vehicle. No narcotics were found inside the vehicle at this time."
Deputy Thomas Hill also arrived and agreed to take Green to the Plantation Key jail.
Perez and Hill then both headed south in their respective cars and, Perez wrote, about 2:21 p.m., he saw Hill's car pulled over with its emergency lights on at U.S. 1 and Jo Jean Way (mile marker 91.5). Green was "face down on the asphalt" and Hill was trying to help him on his side.
Perez pulled over and got out of his car to help, and wrote that Green appeared to be having some kind of medical complication. He was "vomiting, having tremors and irregular breathing."
Perez wrote he saw "what appeared to be a cellophane bag with suspected cocaine inside" Green's mouth. Hill removed the bag from Green's mouth, had called emergency medical services and removed Green's handcuffs.
EMS took Green to Mariners Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 2:50 p.m.
Sheriff Rick Ramsay said he called FDLE to investigate for an impartial, outside investigation.
Green has past convictions for cocaine-related charges.