Inmate's family releases video of events at jail before he died - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Inmate's family releases video of events at jail before he died

Disturbing video out of an Ark-La-Tex jail allegedly shows what happened to an inmate just hours before he died. 

Michael Sabbie, 35, of Texarkana, was found dead in his cell in Bi-State Justice Center in Texarkana, Texas, in July 2015.

The FBI investigated his death. No charges were filed.

Now his family is considering legal action. Sabbie's case has caught the attention of civil rights attorneys who hope his death will bring nationwide changes.

In an effort to get more answers, attorneys for Sabbie's family released video from inside the jail of events they claim led up to his death.

Erik Heipt, the family's lawyer, said Sabbie was being transferred back to his cell when he began having breathing problems. "Michael Sabbie was a very good example of cruel and inhumane treatment."

The video shows a correctional officer wrestle Sabbie to the floor then other officers join in.

All the while, attorneys say, Sabbie was crying out that he could not breathe.  

Moments later, officers appear to be spraying him with a chemical. He was subdued and taken to his cell.

That's where he was found dead the next day. The cause of his death was determined to be acute respiratory stress due to untreated high blood pressure. 

Heipt claims Sabbie was not given proper medical attention. Now the family is considering filing a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The case is not unique, the lawyer said, adding that he hopes the video will bring attention to what he calls a nationwide problem.

"Politicians are ignoring this problem. And our jails are underfunded and understaffed. And they are hiring correctional officers with little or no experience, and they are providing them with little or no experience." 

A federal lawsuit is expected to be filed within the next two months. 

The release of Sabbie's video comes just a few months after another inmate died at the same jail.

Morgan Angerbauer died July 1 due to complications from diabetes. Her family has sued LaSalle Corrections, the private company that operates the jail. And Brittany Johnson, the nurse who was treating Angerbaur, has been charged with negligent homicide. 

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