They saved his life, but not fast enough.
That's the argument a lawsuit puts forth, alleging that police and a lifeguard let a suicidal man nearly drown to death before they took action.
The lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of Virginia on Friday states that Mateusz Fijalkowski, a 23-year-old pool attendant, was under water for 2 minutes "while eight police officers watched and stopped a lifeguard from jumping in to help," according to the Washington Post.
The incident occurred while Fijalkowski was in the midst of a bipolar episode.
Fijalkowski came to the U.S. from Poland through a summer work program in 2016. He was assigned a position cleaning a pool and arranging deckchairs and an apartment complex.
During his third day on the job, "he began acting strangely," according to the Post. "He started arguing with guests and talking to himself in Polish. After he ripped off one girl’s wristband and said she could not enter the pool, a lifeguard called the police."
When the police arrived, Fijalkowski began acting erratically, ignoring their orders, blowing his whistling and climbing the lifeguard tower. He entered the pool, began walking slowly into the deep end and then grabbed two vents on the bottom to hold himself down.
Fijalkowski did not know how to swim.
After two-and-a-half minutes, Fijalkowski’s supervisor and a lifeguard, began to pull him out with the help of several police officers.
An EMT revived Fijalkowski with an electronic defibrillator.
He accumulated $100,000 in medical expenses following the incident.
Police maintain that they did the right thing by waiting to rescue him, as Fijalkowski had been behaving violently.
“When someone’s having a mental episode, the last thing you want to do is go hands on,” Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. said, according to the Post. “You use time on your side to let the episode subside.”Read More