Fort Pierce officer reassigned after man dies in custody

FORT PIERCE, Fla. - A Fort Pierce police officer has been reassigned pending an investigation into the death of a man after the officer took him into custody.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has taken over the investigation, according to Fort Pierce Police Chief Diane Hobley-Burney.

WPTV has learned the man who died is from Indiantown.

Hobley-Burney explained the man was at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center.

For reasons still unclear, medical staff at the medical center called police, wanting to press charges against the patient.

Hobley-Burney says medical staff discharged the man before he was arrested.

Now, FDLE will work to determine what happened between the time the man was arrested, placed into a police car and driven away from the hospital.

“The person was discharged from the hospital, they were medically cleared by the hospital. Unfortunately, while we had them in the back seat of the car…that person was having medical distress,” Hobley-Burney said.

The president of the Martin County NAACP says he is going to be following the investigation and contacting the NAACP chapter in St. Lucie County.

“It’s just an unfortunate situation. That’s the whole thing. It was very unfortunate and our heart is saddened by this,” Hobley-Burney said.

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