VIDEO: Man Sues Officers Who Saved Him From Drowning

A man has sued the Fairfax police officers and the lifeguard who rescued him when he tried to drown himself.

Fairfax, VA – A man who tried to drown himself while working at a community swimming pool has sued the police officers and lifeguard who saved his life (video below).

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

Mateusz Fijalkowski came to the United States from Poland on a summer work program when he was 21 years old in 2016, The Washington Post reported.

Fijalkowski was hired to work as an assistant manager at the swimming pool at the Riverside Apartments in Fairfax County even though he couldn’t swim.

He began work on May 26, 2016, and learned how to set up the chairs on the pool deck, clean the pool, and check the chemicals in the water. He didn’t speak much English, according to The Washington Post.

On his third day of work, he started behaving bizarrely, his co-workers told police.

Fijalkowski argued with pool guests and mumbled to himself in Polish. He tore off a guests’ wristband and told her she wasn’t allowed in the pool, so a lifeguard who worked with him called the police.

Officers responded to the swimming pool to help, but Fijalkowski ignored their presence and kept blowing the lifeguard whistle.

The Washington Post reported that the Fairfax police officers cleared the pool area, and brought in a Polish-speaking officer and Fijalkowski’s Polish-speaking roommate to try to bridge the language divide and diffuse the situation, but nothing helped.

Police reports said Fijalkowski kept yelling “I am the lifeguard!” and praying aloud in Polish.

He threw his cell phone in the shallow end of the pool, twice, and retrieved it both times. Then he climbed the lifeguard stand and started shouting and blowing the whistle, according to The Washington Post.

A bystander took a video of the scene that began as Fijalkowski climbed into the pool using the ladder, and slowly waded from the shallow end of the pool into the deep end.

In the video, several police officers stood along the side of the pool watching the young man as he proceeded to submerge himself in the deep end of the pool.

Fijalkowski was underwater for about two minutes, holding onto the main drain grate at the bottom of the pool, The Washington Post reported.

Eventually, a lifeguard and two officers jumped in to assist Fijalkowski, the video showed.

In the video, they towed Fijalkowski’s unconscious body to the edge of the pool and pulled him up on the deck with assistance from more officers.

The lifeguard began CPR on the man he’d rescued right away, the video showed.

When the ambulance arrived, medics used an electronic defibrillator to revive Fijalkowski, according to The Washington Post.

It was later determined the young man had suffered a bipolar episode. He claimed he had never before had a mental health issue and was diagnosed after the near drowning incident.

In his lawsuit, Fijalkowski claimed eight police officers watched him drowning and did nothing about it, while they prevented a lifeguard from jumping in to save him.

He said he’d filed the lawsuit because he was left with more than $100,000 in medical expenses after more than a week in Fairfax Inova’s Heart and Vascular Institute, and another six days in the psychiatric facility that diagnosed him as bipolar, The Washington Post reported.

But the Fairfax County Police Department said its officers acted appropriately to save Fijalkowski and protect themselves and the lifeguard from a disturbed person, according to The Washington Post.

Chief Roessler defended his officers’ actions and said they had done the right thing by avoiding a physical altercation with a violent man who was behaving erratically.

“When someone’s having a mental episode, the last thing you want to do is go hands on,” the chief told The Washington Post. “You use time on your side to let the episode subside.”

Sean Brooks, who was Fijalkowski’s supervisor and the lifeguard who jumped in to rescue him, told his pool company that police wouldn’t let him jump into the water to save Fijalkowski until he had stopped moving.

Fijalkowski’s lawsuit also named Brooks as a defendant because he did what the police told him to do, Fijalkowski’s attorney Victor Glasberg told The Washington Post.

But Chief Roessler said the concern had been that if anyone went into the water too soon, they could be dragged under the water and seriously injured themselves.

“There’s no way to Monday-morning-quarterback this stuff,” he said. “Everybody there saved this young man’s life.”

Watch the pool employee trying to drown himself, and being saved, in the video below:

Comments (18)
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LEO0301
LEO0301

No good deed goes unpunished.

nuccten
nuccten

And if they went hands on earlier, people would bitch. They wait until he's not a threat, people bitch.

StandingForTheBlue
StandingForTheBlue

It’s easy for people who have no clue to sit here and judge. The man was having an episode, and would have tried to drown any rescuers with him. The police saved his life, and some attorney saw the video and $$$$. Shame on him a d the man whose live was saved by the PD

MikeBlue99
MikeBlue99

I don't disagree with the officers actions, but I can feel pain for the guy who almost died. I mean he clearly needs help, and its highly unlikely his case will actually go anywhere. Its a nuisance, but hopefully it ends in the most reasonable way where the lawsuit gets throw out and the vic gets whatever help he needs.

Katarina
Katarina

Exactly!! It is the way Shysters Lawyers make their money. Promising great wealth to the people they represent and taking half of the settlement. They are Criminals themselves who dance just inside the borders of the law,. If he drowns, the Shyster represents the family, if he lives he represents the man attempting suicide. Win/Win for these worthless reprobates and they make a lot of money off other people. So many also go into politics. Not because they are honorable, but they know how to take advantage of people.

Marxest
Marxest

Shut the fuck up, John-ass. That makes no sense, dumb ass. If he wins he'll win some cash, Not death. Lol

b1rd
b1rd

H_C Dumbass, come on, that was unusually weak. Try doing better.

SDickinson603
SDickinson603

That law suit is so frivolous they should file a counter suit against the idiot just on the principal of the thing. The officer and lifeguard will get summary judgement

Nikobill7453
Nikobill7453

Standing for the Blue, you are so correct. People have no idea what someone with a mental illness is capable of doing. They can have an enormous strength and they are not aware of hat they are doing. DO NOT JUDGE UNLESS YOU CAN DO BETTER! Why didnt you jump in? Thought so, so just shut your up with your stupid remarks.

John-Brown
John-Brown

They wouldn't bitch. He's just a dumb Polack. Only if he was a negro would they bitch.

Reppoc493
Reppoc493

Publish the name of the shyster lawyer so everyone knows who exactly is trying to make a fast buck with a frivilous lawsuit! He's just praying the city settles!

medassistv
medassistv

There are too many people who have no clue that think they know all the answers and they don't not one answer to anything. As agitated as the guy was he could have drowned the lifeguard or one of the other officers. I think he should count himself extremely lucky that he survived and hope he gets the treatment he so badly needs