Recently-released video footage of a Black man pleading for his life to prison guards before later being found dead in his jail cell is raising more than a few questions in the Texas community.
Michael Sabbie was a 35-year-old father of 4 who was reportedly arrested on domestic assault charges in July of 2015 and was said to have died in his sleep of “natural causes” at some point during his 48-hour jail stint.
Just twelve hours before his death, Sabbie was at the center of a confrontation correctional officers that quickly turned physical after they allege that he failed to comply with orders given. While police and the medical examiner both cite Sabbie’s obesity and heart damage as likely causes for his sudden death, video footage of the entire encounter seems to offer another explanation.
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In the footage, Sabbie is seen being slammed to the ground by a guard and then handcuffed by several other guards who arrive to secure him. One of the guards sprays him with mace for refusing to stop moving. Sabbie is then placed in a chair briefly, before later being thrown in the shower to “rinse” the chemicals off of him. He is then left on the floor of his cell.
Sabbie is heard trying to tell officers he has pneumonia, saying he can’t breathe, asking for water and pleading for help in other ways over a dozen times in the clip.
The father was found dead in his cell 12 hours later.
According to The Huffington Post, The State Crime Laboratory’s Medical Examiner Division concluded that Sabbie passed away of “hypertensive arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease,” and maintain that the confrontation with the guards likely played only a minimal role in his death.