Macomb County executive strikes back in jail case

David Stojcevski died after 17 days in Macomb County Jail

MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel says he knows "damn well" that deputies did exactly what they were expected to do when they responded to an unconscious inmate who later died.

David Stojcevski, 32, died in June 2014 while he was in custody at the Macomb County Jail to serve a 30-day careless driving sentence. The Local 4 Defenders obtained the 240 hours of in-cell video that shows Stojcevski expressing signs of drug withdrawals.

Stojcevski's family is suing on allegations that the jail employees failed to respond to Stojcevski's medical needs. 

Read: FBI investigating Macomb County Jail inmate's death

During a press conference Thursday with Sheriff Anthony Wickersham, Hackel slammed attorney Robert Ihrie for releasing the video. Hackel accused Ihrie of trying to "strong arm" the county by asking for a $25 million settlement or else the video would be made public.

Hackel called Stojcevski's death tragic and said the onslaught of negative attention on the sheriff's department has been "disturbing."

Hackel said the video that was aired didn't represent what really happened -- and that the facts are meant to be held to a standard in the court of law, and not the court of public opinion.

"I’m not allowed to defend these officers because there’s pending litigation, and the attorney knew that," Hackel said.

Hackel said a corrections officer started doing CPR on Stojcevski as soon as he realized something was wrong.

“You’ve got a correction officer and he’s got monitors watching everything that’s going on, but he focused on that particular person. He’s looking at him thinking, ‘Something just doesn’t look right here,'" Hackel said. "He’s watching and he sees that the chest stops moving. I mean, that is incredible. You talk about hard to watch a man die, think about the corrections officer who saw that happen, jumped out of his chair, called medical staff and went in there while he was in the process of doing that to start providing CPR."

Ihrie said the county has said shifted the blame onto private contractor Correct Care Solutions.

"If indeed the statements that 'We lived up to our legal responsibility' is the position of the defendants, then you really have to look at what does one think their legal responsibilities are," Ihrie said. "That withdrawal did not just occur in a day hour or minute, it occurred, according to the coroner, over the course of weeks," Ihrie said.