Kim Lee: Family of man who died while in Fort Pierce police custody waiting for answers

FORT PIERCE, Fla. - UPDATE: 

Fort Pierce Police released the name of the officer involved with the death of Kim Lee. 

Officer Candice Kernan-Fullen was temporarily reassigned following Kim Lee's death. 

EARLIER STORY

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement continues to investigate the death of a man from Indiantown while in the custody of Fort Pierce Police.

That man, identified by family as Kim Lee, 50, was in the hospital for treatment related to sickle cell anemia.

Fort Pierce Police Chief Diane Hobley-Burney told WPTV Tuesday that Lee was arrested Sunday, following complaints from hospital staff.

“A patient had battered medical staff and we were there to investigate that situation,” Hobley-Burney said.

Hobley-Burney said Lee was discharged by the hospital and taken into custody by police.

“That officer had him downstairs in the back of the police car. The officer was still parked at the emergency exit,” said Hobley-Burney.

While Lee was still in the car, Hobley-Burney said Lee went into medical distress.

He was readmitted to the hospital, put on life support, according to family, but died about two days later.

Hobley-Burney asked FDLE to investigate.

“I want to make sure that we were following all the proper procedures and we did everything that we could do to ensure the safety of that individual,” said Hobley-Burney.

One of Lee’s 11 children, Zacaria Lee, said they are preparing to bury Lee this weekend.

They may have to do so without knowing all the details leading up to his death.

“It’s like, you can never be prepared to lose a parent, at all,” Zacaria said.

Now, they hope FDLE will give them the answers they’re looking for.

“We just want to know. We need to know,” Lee said.

Because of Kim Lee’s condition, Zacaria says her father always required oxygen.

She wants to know whether Lee was given oxygen during the time he was under arrest.

“I wish they would have just left him in the room, where he was connected to all of his oxygen and everything. I wish it was like that,” said Zacaria.

She wants reassurance that his medical discharge was not sped along because of the pending arrest.

“I feel like he should have been in there longer,” said Zacaria.

Martin County’s NAACP president says he is closely following the investigation.

One police officer has been temporarily reassigned pending the results of the investigation.

Lawnwood Regional Medical Center has not responded to a request for comment.

Print this article Back to Top