Man who tried to drown himself in pool sues officers, lifeguard who saved him

U.S. & World

FAIRFAX, VA (WCMH/AP) — A man who reportedly suffered a bipolar episode and tried to drown himself in a pool is suing the police officers and lifeguard who pulled him out of the water.

The lawsuit filed Friday by 23-year-old Mateusz Fijalkowski says he was left underwater for more than two minutes. He says eight police officers watched and stopped a lifeguard from jumping in to save him.

“The police allowed me to sink before their eyes,” Fijalkowski said in an email, in Polish. “I’m glad that in the end they realized that they shouldn’t let me drown, but I don’t thank them for letting me die, clinically, before their eyes.”

The Washington Post reports the Fairfax County Police Department says officers acted appropriately to save Fijalkowski and protect themselves and the lifeguard from a disturbed person. Fijalkowski says he’s suing because the 2016 incident left him with more than $100,000 in medical bills. 

“They saved his life — he did not die,” Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. said in an interview to the Washington Post. “You’re going to sue someone for saving your life?”

At the time of the incident, Fijalkowski says he had never suffered any mental health episodes. He was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

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