(WJBK) - Macomb County officials said their staff members did what they could to try and save an inmate who died in jail. David Stojcevski died last June while under 24-hour observation in his cell. He was serving time for failing to pay a traffic ticket.
Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham and Macomb County Executive Department held a news conference Thursday morning to talk about the death.
"You have an attorney out there strong-arming the county trying to get a payday after the death of an individual," said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. "That is irresponsible."
Stojcevski's family is suing the Macomb County Sheriff's Department claiming deputies refused to give him his prescription medication. David was taking methadone to help him recover from a drug addiction.
Hackel said that Macomb County jail employees did their jobs after Stojcevski was found unconscious inside his cell.
"It's the actions of the officers working in that facility that I know damn well did what they needed to do to care and tend to an individual," Hackel said.
County attorney John Schapka says he's confident the county will win the case, which is pending in federal court. He declined further comment. A judge will consider a request to dismiss the lawsuit on Oct. 14.
The FBI has also launched a probe into the death, which Wickersham said in the conference he "welcomed".
Attorney Robert Ihrie says Stojcevski died in June 2014 after serving 16 days of a 30-day sentence for failing to appear on a careless driving charge. He lost 50 pounds during that time, and video shows him hallucinating in his cell and shaking with seizures.
He died while under 24-hour observation inside his cell after being locked up for not paying a traffic ticket.
The family is suing the county saying that his medical needs were not met after drug withdrawals.
"We sued because we believe as a consequence of the actions that took place, my client's Constitutional rights were violated," said Ihrie.
But Hackel said that within 30 seconds of noticing the inmate was in distress, officers tended to him.
Hackel and Wickersham admitted at the news conference they have not watched the roughly 240 hours of in-cell video of Stojcevski.
This story contains information from The Associated Press.