CRIME
09/24/2015 05:02 pm ET Updated Oct 01, 2015

Man Jailed For Unpaid Traffic Ticket Suffers 'Excruciating' Death In Cell: Lawsuit

"It’s unconscionable that they let this human being suffer like this.”

The family of David Stojcevski, a 32-year-old man from Roseville, Michigan, who died in the Macomb County Jail last June after being arrested for failing to pay a $772 traffic ticket, has filed suit against the county for his wrongful death.

The suit claims deputies looked on via a 24-hour camera mounted in Stojcevski's cell as he withered away for 17 days, having been denied the medications he'd been prescribed (and was taking prior to his incarceration) to manage his drug withdrawal.

According to the suit, medical officers at the jail were informed Stojcevski required Xanax, Klonopin and Oxycodone when they booked him, yet never provided them to him, even after he was found "twitching on the floor" and pleading "for necessary medical care and treatment."

While the family filed the suit in March, the case only came to light this week after WDIV obtained video of Stojcevski's last moments.

When Stojcevski began hallucinating -- a symptom of benzodiazepine withdrawal -- he told officers he felt “all his organs" had been removed and his "arms [had been] shredded," leaving "10 percent of his heart." Instead of receiving medical care, the suit claims he was placed on suicide watch, where he was stripped naked for his own safety, and officers looked on via a 24-hour-a-day camera.

There, the suit says, "defendants … monitored, watched and observed David spend the final ten days of his life suffering excruciating benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms.”

It’s unconscionable that they let this human being suffer like this,” addiction expert Diane Rockwell told WDIV, describing Stojcevski's last moments, as he crawled under the cell bed and heaved his last breaths, as being "like an animal [that's] crawling underneath something to die."

The Macomb County Sheriff's declined to comment, citing ongoing litigation.

CONVERSATIONS