Federal officials decline to file charges in Macomb inmate’s death
Mount Clemens — Federal prosecutors have declined to file criminal or civil charges in the death of a Macomb County Jail inmate two years ago.
In a brief statement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Monday the evidence doesn’t support a federal civil rights prosecution in the June 2014 incident.
The lawyer for David Stojcevski said the 32-year-old suffered serious withdrawals from drug use and died after serving 16 days of a 30-day sentence for careless driving.
Video shows Stojcevski hallucinating in his cell and shaking with seizures.
Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said Monday prosecutors conducted a “very thorough investigation” into the inmate’s death that took months to complete.
Several corrections officers as well as medical personnel and a doctor were interviewed by FBI agents, officials said. Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham previously said he provided investigators with an internal investigation and about 240 hours of in-cell video.
“We wanted to make sure that in the end that there was this clearing of any officers of any wrongdoing,” Hackel said. “That people would trust that and they would believe that.”
A civil lawsuit filed by Stojcevski’s brother, Vladimir Stojcevski, is pending.
The suit targets the county, Wickersham, jail employees and Correct Care Solutions, which is contracted by the county to provide medical care at the jail.
The suit claims David Stojcevski lost 50 pounds and had hallucinations and seizures caused by untreated withdrawal symptoms while in the jail.
An autopsy determined the cause of death was “acute withdrawal” after Stojcevski was denied prescribed doses of methadone, Xanax, Klonopin and oxycodone, according to the complaint.
“There is still a civil suit in this case and the facts will come out then, I will not debate them in the media,” Wickersham said during the news conference.
The lawsuit seeks “a substantial sum” in addition to court costs, attorney fees and punitive damages, family attorney Robert Ihrie said.
Ihrie said the outcome of the federal investigation will not affect the civil lawsuit.
“The fact remains the defendant in this case had my client under their total control as an inmate for 17 days,” Ihrie said in a phone interview after the press conference. “And every day for 24 hours a day they were 10 feet away from him, monitoring allegedly. “It is a tragic death and it never, never should have happened.”
Hackel said the lawsuit was “upsetting” and that it was filed by people who are trying “extort the county out of $30 million.”
“It’s not going to be the outcome that some would hope it is that are trying to exploit this and profit off a very tragic situation of an individual that had a troubled past,” Hackel said.
Wickersham said the county jail has made changes to its operations since the death of Stojcevski and they are sending more inmates to the hospital. Last month there were eight inmates in various hospitals at one time, which is above average, he said.
“Now you’re going to find them being overly sensitive to people’s needs and sending them out to the hospital,” Hackel said.
He added the death presents an opportunity to raise awareness of mental health and incarceration.
Stojcevski died in the prison’s mental health unit, where prisoners are monitored around the clock.
The county is studying whether there are better options than incarceration for people with mental health issues in the jail, but some solutions could cost taxpayers money, Hackel said.
“It’s not a complete responsibility of law enforcement or the criminal justice system to deal with these people on a continuous basis,” Hackel said.