Family of Michigan Man Who Died in Jail From Drug Withdrawal Files Lawsuit

By May Wilkerson 09/28/15

David Stojcevski suffered withdrawals for 17 days while under surveillance and police did nothing.

David Stojcevski
David Stojcevski suffering withdrawals in his cell. Photo via

The family of a Michigan man who died in his jail cell after suffering drug withdrawal has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the county. David Stojcevski died in the Macomb County Jail last June, where he had been sentenced to 30 days after failing to pay a $772 traffic ticket.

According to the lawsuit, medical officers at the jail were informed that the 32-year-old needed to take Xanax, Klonopin, and Oxycodone to aid his benzodiazepine withdrawal, but refused to provide them. In the 17 days leading up to his death, Stojcevski reportedly lost 50 pounds, and was “twitching on the floor” and begging “for necessary medical care and treatment” while deputies watched him under 24-hour video surveillance.

The lawsuit claims Stojcevski began experiencing hallucinations due to benzodiazepine withdrawal. He told officers he felt “all his organs" had been removed and his "arms [had been] shredded," leaving "10% of his heart."

Jail officials allegedly put him on 24-hour suicide watch and stripped him naked “for his own safety,” but did not offer the necessary medical help. Instead, they “monitored, watched and observed David spend the final 10 days of his life suffering excruciating benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms,” says the lawsuit.

Addiction expert Diane Rockwell described a brutal scene in which Stojcevski crawled under his bed right before his death, "like an animal [that's] crawling underneath something to die."

“It’s unconscionable that they let this human being suffer like this,” Rockwell said.

The case only came to light this week after video surveillance tapes were released. The Macomb County Sheriff’s office declined to comment.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.