Calling for Justice After a Devastating Loss - Pia
We rely on our public institutions to act in our best interest. The police are meant to protect us. But what happens when they don't?
Pia found herself in exactly this situation.
In 2019, Pia was pulled away from work by a police officer at her door. He began asking if her son, Jimmy, had epilepsy or seizure disorders.“
I said, ‘Absolutely not.’ I couldn’t even imagine why he was even asking me that,” she recalls.
It turns out Jimmy was in the hospital. By the time his mother arrived, it was too late. Jimmy had been brain dead for fifty minutes, and Pia had to make a decision that no parent should have to make to remove her son from life support.
There was a police officer posted outside the door of Jimmy’s room and Jimmy had been in shackles. It just made no sense to Pia. What had happened to her son? When she tried to call a funeral home to come get Jimmy’s body, she was told that they needed to wait for the coroner because Jimmy had been incarcerated.
She didn’t even know that Jimmy had been detained by the police.
Pia had questions, but no one was forthcoming with answers. She and her husband searched through the autopsy report, but they kept finding discrepancies between the autopsy and what Pia had been told at the hospital. Finally, she made contact with investigative reporter Karla Ray, who had managed to obtain the jail report regarding Jimmy’s death.
What Pia learned horrified her.
Jimmy had been pulled over and detained for having an expired driver’s license. The police found drugs in his car and arrested him.
While in custody, Jimmy was put in general population and didn’t receive any medical screening for possible drug use or assessment for detox. Sadly, Jimmy had developed a drug addiction from narcotic pain medication he was prescribed after an injury he got when he was younger.
Although he was on the road to recovery, he was undergoing a relapse, which he openly communicated to the facility and warned that he may have withdrawal symptoms. When withdrawal symptoms then began, no help was forthcoming. When other inmates attempted to alert the correctional officers’ that Jimmy was violently ill, they were ignored.
When medical staff were finally alerted in the middle of the night, they refused to see him until the following morning.
Jimmy was dead by the time he arrived at the hospital.
Pia knew she needed help to get justice for Jimmy.
She reached out to Morgan & Morgan and connected with attorney Jack Cook. She wanted the truth and she wanted the correctional facility where Jimmy was held to admit what it had failed to do. But mostly, she wanted to prevent any other mothers from experiencing the pain that she had gone through.
Pia received settlements from the medical facility as well as the correctional facility where Jimmy was detained. But it’s not about the money, as far as Pia’s concerned.
“Yes, my son was sick. He had a disease, but he did not deserve to die like this,” she says. And, thanks to the tenacity of a mother fighting for her son, other parents won’t have to suffer from the same pain.