jail

Only 48 hours after he made a Facebook post thanking God for his kids, a 35-year-old father of four, Michael Sabbie, would die in a concrete cage. His last moments alive were caught on a jail’s surveillance cameras as he uttered the all-too-familiar phrase ‘I can’t breathe’ — 19 times.

As none of the officers involved in his death have been held accountable, his family has filed a lawsuit this week to seek some semblance of justice.

“He is a medically-vulnerable person. So he reported at intake that he had hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and asthma,” said Erik Heipt, who is representing Sabbie’s family in the lawsuit against the jail filed earlier this week, according to CBS.

The lawsuit claims what the video shows — officers ignored his pleas for help, his clear signs of distress, his labored breathing, and used excessive force — leading to the death of this father.

In 2015, Sabbie was violently subdued and repeatedly pepper sprayed by guards at the Bi State Prison on the borders of Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana. He’d been arrested after a verbal dispute with his wife.

As the assault on this father began, five officers swarmed Sabbie and piled on top of him as he shouted, “I can’t breathe.” Then, a sixth guard, equipped with a body camera, joined the group and began spraying Sabbie in the face while accusing him of resisting.

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“Get your hands behind your back or you’ll get it again!” the guard yelled.

“I can’t breathe, sir,” Sabbie said, as officers propped him up against the wall outside of the nurse’s office. “Please, please. I got pneumonia.”

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The nurse examined him and then released him, noting that his symptoms were normal for someone who’d just been pepper sprayed. However, Sabbie had those symptoms before he was sprayed.

“Please, please,” Sabbie begged for water, but was denied. He was then brought to the shower to wash off the spray and thrown in his cell.

The guards then said Sabbie had attacked one of them after refusing to go back to his cell. Yet his family’s attorney, Erik Heipt, told Huffington Post that Sabbie had complained “I can’t breathe” 19 different times in the nine total minutes of video obtained by the family. And, the video shows no such attack.

“If you just looked at the cause of death, you would think that Michael died of some sort of hypertensive heart condition, and that may be true,” Heipt said. “But if we didn’t have a video, we’d never know that he had been begging for help due to his shortness of breath and inability to breathe.”

According to jail protocol, somebody was supposed to check on Sabbie every 30 minutes overnight, according to CBS. The suit claims that a guard said she did and then later admitted to lying.

Hours after he was left to die in his cell while begging for help, Sabbie was found dead.

Medical examiners ruled Sabbie’s cause of death as “hypertensive arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease.” They claim the pepper spray in the face and the violent beating “played a minimal role in the decedent’s death, and may not have contributed at all to his death.”

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Heipt told Huffington Post the family believes Sabbie died from a treatable and recognizable medical emergency called a pulmonary edema, which is excess fluid in the lungs due to his heart condition. Sabbie had said he was spitting blood and needed to go to a hospital in court, where a judge set his bail at $2,500 for the misdemeanor domestic assault charge.

Police said Sabbie threatened his wife during a fight over monetary issues, but he pleaded not guilty and his wife even said that this was  “a tragedy that should never have happened.”

“I can’t put into words how devastated my children and I are after the loss of Michael,” she said. “He was my backbone and best friend. My children lost a wonderful father who wanted the best for his family. A piece of our heart is gone, and I pray to God for justice.”

Sabbie’s death is not an isolated incident. And, according to a report released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, an overwhelming amount of inmates who die in police custody haven’t been convicted of a crime.

In fact, an alarming 75% of the people who die behind bars actually have not been convicted of a crime.

As we have seen with the cases of Sandra Bland, Rexdale Henry, Sarah Circle Bear, and others, many of the deaths that occur in prison happen under extremely suspicious circumstances and are labeled as “suicides” without proper investigation.

“He was treated as if his life did not matter,” Sabbie’s family said. “Most of all they want justice and accountability and to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”

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Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter, Steemit, and now on Facebook.
  • Damiana

    “I can’t put into words how devastated my children and I are after the loss of Michael,” she said. “He was my backbone and best friend. My children lost a wonderful father who wanted the best for his family. A piece of our heart is gone, and I pray to God for justice.”

    For her sake, I hope it was the neighbors who called the cops and not her way of trying to “teach him a lesson.” It really doesn’t matter who called, though, because unless there was some kind of criminal history of domestic abuse, he should have NEVER been in jail over “verbal threats,” ESPECIALLY given how often cops just straight-up ignore the situation whenever a (white) man violates a restraining order to beat the shit out of his ex.

    • Zackknowitall

      Oh come on. Did you know in ever category blacks commit more crimes percapta and at a higher % rate.

      • Damiana

        That better be sarcasm, Zachary!

        • Zackknowitall

          It’s not

        • Zackknowitall

          FBI stats back me up

          • Damiana

            Too bad you can’t think any deeper than mere statistics. All you can prove is that black people are arrested, charged, and convicted more often than their white counterparts. In a society as openly racist as ours has proven to be, I don’t view those statistics as proof that black people actually commit more crime than anyone else. They’re just more likely to get caught when everyone scrutinizes them more closely because we all just know they’re criminals. Isn’t that ironic… don’t ya think?

            That doesn’t even BEGIN to calculate the number of innocent black people who’ve been railroaded for a crime they never committed. Grow up and stop looking for excuses to be a racist prick. You’ll just perpetuate a nasty cycle!

          • Zackknowitall

            I’m not racist nor am I white. I’m not a racist bc I don’t tnink my race what ever it is is superior I can see though balck proverty and crime go hand and hand with low IQs and a tendency for violence with extremely high testosterone levels. Yes this is why the majority professional athletes are black.

            If poor black mothers stoped fucking thugs having babies out of wedlock all while not having a pot to piss in or a dime to their name. How stupid for some black queen living at home with mom in the projects growing up without a daddy making babies. Don’t worry as soon as that baby is born the government through the tax payers will give her a place to live and free everything from water, electric, phone, internet, gas and cash. She will never work in her life and nither will her kids.

            Poverty begets Poverty
            Stupid begest Stupid
            Low IQ begets Low IG

          • billdeserthills

            Blacks are so fortunate to have a person of your superior intellect to inform them of how it’s all their fault that they have all these problems–Now if they’ll only follow your time-tested advice I’m sure they’ll never have another issue / sarc off…

          • Zackknowitall

            I never forced some poor ass black trash to fuck 3 different 3 thugs make 3 babies she can’t afford. I never told Tyron to get 3 thugs and robs a gas station. They could have found a job like I did. Or, better yet finished high school and finished college. All while learning English and Spanish and working 2 jobs. The topping on the cake is I had no support group and lived on the street for my 1st year in the country while I saved up money for school.

          • billdeserthills

            Good One, that’s what I like to tell homeless beggars holding signs too

          • Zackknowitall

            What does being homeless have to do why some hood rat having 3 baby daddy and no job between the 4 of them?

          • billdeserthills

            Same answer to both

          • fuster

            you’re pretty damn right not to think that you’re a member of the human race, you sub-human shitball

        • Zackknowitall

          Guess I should have said violent crimes

  • Jim

    First of all, he is big and fat and in poor health. Secondly, you shouldn’t start “incidences” with the police, especially if you are a big fat load in poor health. He was in JAIL, not at the health clinic. He was causing trouble and needed to be dealt with accordingly. His subsequent death is entirely his own fat fault. I’d love to see any of you second-guessing, whining liberals be a police officer for even ONE day.

    • IceTrey

      So tell us, what exactly does cop dick taste like?

    • Zackknowitall

      Please instruct me to the point in the video this man started an “incidence” with that abusive pig cop.

      • Damiana

        *smacks his hand* Don’t feed that damn thing!

        • Guy

          *Smacks her saucy butt right back*

      • fuster

        the deceased’s lawyer said the the incident started when the prisoner demanded to make a phone call, was refused, was ordered to return to his cell,,,and refused to return.
        refusing the order was wrong and properly subjected the prisoner to the use of force

        THAT is how it started

        • billdeserthills

          Haven’t seen you on in awhile, I’m glad to see you again

          • fuster

            thanks, bill

        • Zackknowitall

          He was bent over asking for medical help. I hope his family eye for an eye these pigs whole family.

          • fuster

            he didn’t start out asking for help. he started out making demands and failing to follow proper orders.

          • Guy

            How the weather in Korea nowadays ? Smoggy and Hot, I’ll bet. My brother hated the place so much in 57 that he got a transfer to Germany, just so he could breath and buy a car, while in the service.

          • fuster

            what’s the sense of that stupid comment?

            did you take the joke bio seriously?

            ask your brother to explain to you the Marine term ” Mongolian fustercluck”

            (even though fustercluck is not quite the original word)

          • Guy

            Don’t know. Dependent on what I read is true or not. Relying on it as factual, not the other way around ! Sorry, I have been corrected and now suitably ashamed !

            Now will think twice in future about reply to your comments. Having just now decided it’s much safer to let you *Peddle Your Papers* elsewhere and un-molested ! Have a good one.

          • Guy

            He was in the Army, he’s dead, so I can’t ! But do understand you ! Sort of like being FUBAR’ed without the exclamation point.

          • fuster

            sorry to hear that he’s no longer alive

    • Damiana

      *pats him on the head*

      Aww, who’s a good little troll? *gasps excitedly* Yes, you are – you are my good boy. Now, go git them rotten liberals! *throws something small several yards away*

      • Jim

        Yawns.

    • fuster

      despite this, his jailors had a basic duty to provide care for his health…..

      he indeed died of a chronic condition, but the jailors had an obligation NOT to ignore his complaints of being unable to breathe,

      he should have been thoroughly examined and been given treatment, not left alone in his cell

      • Guy

        Why bother with that ? He’s just a sack of fat trash, that needs to know who’s and what’s in charge at that point ! We treat our fish in our live wells befor releasing em alive after our fishing tournaments, better that what these fuckers did to this man ! But really in the long run, why bother, there will just be another one along in a few mineuts !

        • fuster

          why should I bother answering you as you’re just another sack of trash?

          • Guy

            That depends on if you believe me or not, as to my regards of this man’s treatment while jailed. Sarcasm is something I posses by the truck load full. Especially as I see the bitter ironies that affects us all. Coming as the result of the human condition, being subjected to those who are in power over us !

            That’s enough for now !

    • Guy

      Good deal ! Your wish has been granted. All it will take is for you to walk down a public street and throw a rock through a window ! Please drink one beer befor hand, and hopefully it will be after 1: AM. Wait 5 minutes and you will have the pleasure of knowing just what it is like for us liberal types to ride around with a cop while on duty ! Don’t forget to yell really loudly, when they get there about your rights as a American Citizen, you can even stagger a little bit for added effect when you do !

      • Jim

        Seriously, dude. Go move in with those animals,. Please report back to me.

        • Guy

          Seriously Dude ! That’s the best you can do ? No clever retort, no incredible gift of wisdom, that you want to impart to us heaving masses of humanity ?

          Oh there you are ! Back to your true form and nature ! And much more like you to have something to say about a daughter that I don’t have, and a wife that I have loved for over 43 years.
          Keep it up there fella, just showing us and the whole fucking world what a stupid fool you can be, without a lick of common sense enough to pound a nail, but way so damn clever to troll folks with a opinion that is not inline with yours !

          I am not disappointed !

          • Jim

            Wow! YOU have so inspired me! My life will never be the same after experiencing your life’s wisdom.

          • Guy

            Good Fucking Deal !

      • Jim

        I know your mother and daughter participate in such violent and terroristic activities on a daily basis, but neither I nor my family do, so it is hard to relate to you. I hope you get tasered, shackled, shot and imprisoned, you piece of garbage.

  • Zackknowitall

    See in the video they call him offender over and over again to build basis in the jury mind incase they end up in up court over this.

    • fuster

      if they instead called him “prisoner” that would have been more proper

      • Zackknowitall

        How about victim

        • fuster

          was he arrested without cause?

          there’s no reason to call him a victim….he wasn’t beaten to death or injured by anybody and died of injuries.

          he died of a long-term disease that he failed to actively resist over the course of his life.

          the family is claiming that the jailers failed to actively treat the prisoner, and I see merit in that claim, but disinterest doesn’t make him a victim.

          • Guilmar Perez

            You ignorant heartless bastard! Why couldn’t they give him water? When he was saying he couldn’t breathe, why didn’t they seek medical help for him?

          • fuster

            WTF?

            four days ago I wrote (and this is about six or seven comments above this in the thread)

            ” but there’s no getting around the clear fact that in that jail he DID NOT get the medical care to which he was entitled and which may well have saved his life”

            you just might owe me an apology, Perez

          • Guilmar Perez

            Ok ok ok I might have jumped the gun…. s-a-w-y… lol…

          • fuster

            keep jumping, mallomar

  • fuster

    the man was in poor health, obviously didn’t take care of himself, and died of his chronic hypertension.
    clearly this isn’t the result of anything the jail guards did

    but there’s no getting around the clear fact that in that jail he DID NOT get the medical care to which he was entitled and which may well have saved his life

  • Gordon Klock

    75% of the people that die behind bars, not even convicted of any crime, is a pretty scary statistic, when one thinks about it…this implies that the phrase, “protective custody” has become a cold hearted, sick joke…no wonder people run from cops, despite knowing how seriously dangerous that obviously is, as well……

    • fuster

      what’s the source of that statistic and why would it have any significance?

      • Gordon Klock

        This article, (toward the bottom)…

        • fuster

          thanks for that, but what significance does that stat have?

          why should it be any different?

  • Ibcamn

    cops are the new terrorists in america……..

    • fuster

      stupid comment

      • Ibcamn

        but accurate….

        • fuster

          not at all accurate, just stupid

          • Ibcamn

            read up on parallel laws,then come back and discuss the subject…oh,and the new supreme court ruling is going to make it much worse for the people with cops just starting shit for the hell of it and walking away on all charges,cops are in fact,the new homegrown terrorists in america….americans will be waking up in mass very soon……good day

          • fuster

            the cops aren’t terrorists now….and your prediction that they will become terrorists is more about what’s in your head than what’s actually out there in the world

          • Ibcamn

            you’re right…cops have always been terrorists here on the streets of this great country and all should be viewed that way,after all cops murder almost 2,000 people a year in cold blood,many of which are children and are shot in the back while running away and these same cops rape hundreds if not thousands of boys and girls,women and even male inmates every year,you are right,they have always been terrorists in this country,nothing ”new”,that was in my head………………………….thanks

          • fuster

            you’re ridiculous when you claim that cops ” murder almost 2,000 people a year in cold blood”.

            that claim is stupid beyond measure.

  • Brian King

    they dont give a fuck about us