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Family of a man, who died while in prison for not wearing a mask on a bus during the pandemic, has filed a lawsuit claiming that the prison staff denied him medications he needed and failed to provide him with medical attention

Family of a man, who died while in jail for not wearing a mask on a bus during the pandemic, has now filed a lawsuit against the County, claiming that the prison staff denied him medications he needed. The complaint says the family is seeking a jury trial. Prior to his incarceration, the 45-year-old man was regularly taking a number of prescribed medications for high blood pressure, diabetes, and schizophrenia. His sister also said that the man suffered from mental illness and said he couldn’t breathe in the mask. She provided medical records and paperwork showing his prescribed medications and even brought the medications to the jail.

According to his family, the 45-year-old man, Maurice Monk, was in prison after being arrested during a dispute over wearing a mask on a bus. According to FOX News, Monk reportedly died Nov. 15, 2021, from heart and/or blood pressure complications due to a lack of medical care, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. 

“When Maurice Monk was brought to defendant ACSRJ on October 11, 2021, he was arrested and being held after having a verbal disagreement for not wearing a mask on a bus and missing a court appearance for a minor nonviolent misdemeanor. Despite his sister’s efforts to alert jail staff that Mr. Monk was under a doctor’s care and taking a number of prescribed medications, the jail’s staff failed to provide the medications to Mr. Monk,” the lawsuit states.

According to the family’s attorney, Adante Pointer, Patrick Buelna and Ty Clarke, the 45-year-old man was reportedly undergoing treatment for high blood pressure, diabetes and schizophrenia. According to the lawsuit, Monk’s health quickly deteriorated, and the staff’s failure ultimately robbed him of his life and the plaintiffs of their loving father. The death was preventable and that it happened as a result of Monk being denied adequate medical care despite his family’s repeated efforts to ensure jail staff gave him the medications he so desperately needed, the lawsuit states.

Monk was first arrested on June, 2 2021, after he had a verbal fight on a transit bus because he didn’t want to wear a mask. The 45-year-old man then missed a court appearance because a deputy turned him away from the door, which sparked a warrant out for his arrest, documents show. His sister said her brother suffered from mental illness and said he couldn’t breathe in the mask. On Oct. 11, 2021, Monk was taken into custody after officers were called regarding a verbal argument between him and a bus driver.

The judge set bail for $2,500, but his family was unable to afford bail. Prior to his incarceration, the 45-year-old man was regularly taking a number of prescribed medications for high blood pressure, diabetes, and schizophrenia. His sister, Elvira, contacted Defendant Jail Staff to inform them of her brother’s medical needs.

She provided medical records and paperwork showing his prescribed medications and even brought the medications to the jail. According to the lawsuit, the prison staff reportedly rejected Elvira’s numerous attempts to get her brother the medication he needed, instead sending her through a series of unnecessary bureaucratic processes. During his time in custody, Monk was reportedly placed in a solitary confinement cell which likely exacerbated his mental health condition. 

On November 15, 2021, the 45-year-old man was found unresponsive in his cell. He reportedly died of heart and/or blood pressure complications proximately caused by the defendant’s outright refusal to provide him any of prescribed medications. Nearly 8 months after his death the Sheriff’s Department and/or Coroner’s Office has failed to make Mr. Monk’s autopsy or jail records available to his family, the lawsuit states.

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