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FBI Probes Florida Inmate’s Death

July 30, 1999

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ The FBI has launched a civil rights investigation into the death of a condemned inmate who got into a violent confrontation with prison guards.

The investigation will determine whether Frank Valdes’ civil rights were violated by guards who allegedly beat him to death, FBI agent Bill Hurlburt said Thursday. State authorities are also investigating.

Nine guards are suspended with pay while agents investigate whether Valdes, 36, died as a result of a July 17 beating on death row. Two more guards were suspended for refusing to cooperate with investigators.

Reports filed by guards acknowledged a violent fight between Valdes and five guards trying to get him out of his cell. They said Valdes kicked and tried to bite the guards when they entered his cell after he refused to be handcuffed.

Officers said they responded with chemical sprays, a shield that delivers an electric shock and several punches to Valdes’ face, arms and torso. They claim he was checked at the prison clinic after the incident and was fine.

He died hours later.

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