DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The family of a man who died last year in the Parker County Jail has filed a federal lawsuit in Dallas, alleging Charles Alvarez received improper medical care and that the jail staff showed “deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs.”
The CBS 11’s I-Team showed exclusive surveillance video of Alvarez pleading for help before collapsing in the booking area of the jail during the early morning hours on Feb. 7, 2015.
At the time of Alvarez’s arrest for alleged public intoxication, the county jail in Weatherford was operated by a private, New Jersey-based company, Community Education Centers Inc.
The federal lawsuit, filed by Alvarez’s parents, names CEC and seven unidentified CEC jail staffers as plaintiffs.
A spokesman for the company told the I-Team in an email that he could not comment because of the pending litigation.
As previously reported by the I-Team, the lawsuit says Alvarez was spotted by a Weatherford police officer lying in the middle of a street near Weatherford’s courthouse square.
“At that time, Charlie was shirtless, covered in cuts, abrasions and contusions, and had a swollen black eye,” the lawsuit says.
It said Alvarez, 25, told the officer he had been in a fight and was unable to stand up.
“Instead of calling for an ambulance or transporting him to a nearby hospital, (the officer) arrested Charlie for public intoxication, believing that he ‘was a danger to himself or others if left there,’ ” the lawsuit said.
The video obtained exclusively by the I-Team shows the staggering Alvarez in the booking area, surrounded by jail staff.
At one point he says, “I can’t breathe,” at which time a jailer responds: “…you’re talking, you can breathe.”
Before collapsing and becoming unresponsive, Alvarez is overheard saying, “I need a doctor, please.”
Alvarez was later taken to a Weatherford hospital, and then to a hospital in Fort Worth, where he died.
An autopsy determined Alvarez died from internal complications, including internal bleeding, “multi-organ failure,” and heart failure.
Weatherford Police Chief Mike Manning told the I-Team he does not believe everything alleged in the lawsuit “is completely accurate,” but was not specific and declined further comment.
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