Family Sues After Woman With Opioid Use Disorder Dies in Police Custody

    The family of a woman with opioid use disorder who died in police custody after begging to be taken to the hospital is suing for her wrongful death, NBC News reports.

    In the lawsuit, relatives of Madelyn Linsenmeir, a 30-year-old mother, say authorities ignored her “desperate pleas to be taken to a hospital,” and failed to provide her lifesaving care. A video of Linsenmeir shows her asking for water, and telling officers she felt chest pain and might need to go to the hospital. She was booked as an inmate at the Western Massachusetts Regional Women’s Correctional Center, where she was told “the situation was her own fault for using drugs,” according to the lawsuit. She died later of a treatable heart infection at the hospital, her family says.

    Linsenmeir’s family is being represented by the ACLU of Massachusetts and Prisoner Legal Service of Massachusetts. “Substance use disorder is a disease, and it is legally and morally indefensible for law enforcement agencies to deny appropriate medical care to prisoners with substance use disorder based on prejudice and stereotypes,” said Elizabeth Matos, Executive Director of Prisoners’ Legal Services, in a statement.

    By Partnership Staff
    March 2020

    Published

    March 2020

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