Family and friends of Clifford Green, who died while riding in the back of a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office patrol car in April, protested in front of the agency’s Marathon office Monday.
Ora Green and Troy Campbell, Green’s sister and brother, organized the protest and said the Sheriff’s Office has not been forthcoming about how their brother died.
“I’m here to find justice for my brother so my mom can rest in peace,” Ora said. “I’m here to let the police know you can’t just go around killing people and putting out false information.”
A toxicology report released Monday by the Medical Examiner found Green, 39, tested positive for high levels of cocaine.
Green died on April 8 shortly after he was pulled over by Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Detective Iscandel Perez at mile marker 98.5 southbound in Key Largo. He had a seizure in the back of a deputy’s car while being driven to the Plantation Key jail and pronounced dead shortly after at Mariners Hospital in Tavernier.
Ora disputes the toxicology report and said County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Beaver and Sheriff Rick Ramsay have not returned her calls.
“We haven’t gotten a medical report yet,” Ora said. “They didn’t even call us to indentify the body. We didn’t see our brother until a week later when we picked him up at Castillo & Thurston’s [in Key West].”
Troy claims his brother had past issues with Perez, to the point that he filed a complaint against the deputy for harassment. He also said the video footage of the arrest was blurry and shoddy, calling it “unacceptable.”
“I feel that Perez was waiting on my brother to find an opportunity to harass him. That’s what he did and it ended up costing his life,” Campbell said. “How do you get pulled over to losing your life? I don’t understand the situation.”
According to a report written by Perez, he stopped Green for driving a 1992 Buick Park Avenue with windows he thought were tinted too dark around 1:20 p.m. Perez wrote Green was “fidgeting about inside of the vehicle” before pulling over at mile marker 98.5.
Perez wrote a computer check showed Green had a suspended license for failure to pay child support and he was on probation for a drug conviction.
Deputy Matthew Koval arrived at the scene and Green was arrested on a charge of driving with a suspended license. Perez used a K-9 dog which “alerted to the presence of narcotics on the passenger’s side front door,” the detective wrote. Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Michael Jordan arrived and he and Perez searched the inside of the car.
Perez wrote Jordan found drug related paraphernalia in the car but no narcotics.
Deputy Thomas Hill arrived and agreed to take Green to the plantation Key Jail. Perez and Hill they headed back to their perspective cars and headed south until 2:21 p.m. Perez wrote Hill’s car was pulled over with its emergency lights on near mile marker 91.5. Green was “face down on the asphalt” and Hill was trying to help him on his side.
Perez got out and wrote Green was “vomiting, having tremors and irregular breathing.” In his mouth was “what appeared to a cellophane bag with suspected cocaine inside.”
Green was taken by emergency medical services to Mariners Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 2:50 p.m.
Ramsay called the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for an outside, impartial investigation. Ramsay said he’s reviewed the audio and video evidence and believes his deputies acted properly in their interaction with Green.
Ramsay said this week that he’s confident the FDLE will find his deputies acted properly in their interaction with Green.
“I have reviewed the audio and video evidence, and I have not seen or heard any indication there was a struggle of any kind in the apprehension, arrest, or transport of Mr. Green,” Ramsay said. “While we will have to wait until the conclusion of the independent FDLE investigation and subsequent review by the State Attorney’s Office, it does not appear there was any wrongdoing on the part of the deputies involved,”