EVERETT, Wash. - The family of a woman who died at the Snohomish County Jail is suing, saying guards ignored her cries for help as she slowly suffocated in front of them.
Lindsey Lason was 27 when she was arrested for misdemeanor warrants in 2011.
When Lason was put in the Snohomish County Jail awaiting a court appearance, she already may have been very sick.
Lason’s cousin, Jennifer Taylor, said her cousin cried for help for 10 days in her cell -- she had three liters of fluid in her lungs -- and she was ignored until she died.
“She was fighting for her life,” said Taylor. “She would bang on the doors. She would try to get anyone to pay attention to her.”
Two years after Lason died, an independent doctor examined the reports. He concluded all Lason would have needed was a simple chest X-ray and antibiotics to save her life.
“She would push the button (and say), ‘Help me! Help me! Help me!’ and they’d yell at her, ‘Quit pushing the emergency button,’” said Lason family attorney Royce Ferguson.
Ferguson put together hundreds of pages of documentation he said is evidence that jail guards stepped over Lason, even when she screamed all night that she couldn't breathe.
“In writing, it says that these inmates should have access to medical emergency care, and those policies were ignored,” said Ferguson.
“I just remember her smiles and her laughter and the video and pictures are all I have left,” said Taylor.
Taylor is launching a $10 million wrongful death claim against Snohomish County, the city of Everett and Des Moines police departments because she said they all saw that Lason was sick and could have saved her.
Snohomish County would not comment about the $10 million claim
The county has 60 days to respond.
Lason’s family wants to take the lawsuit to court in hopes that jail policy can be changed.
Seven people died in the Snohomish County Jail in the last three years.