Massachusetts

Lawsuit Alleges Man, 39, Died Due to Neglect While in Boston Police Custody

The family of Cristhian Geigel says the 39-year-old showed obvious signs of opioid intoxication and was completely neglected by police officers at the D-4 station; family members of Shayne Stilphen allege the same thing, and also filed suit against the Boston Police Department earlier this year

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Thirty-nine-year-old Cristhian Geigel died while in police custody at a Boston precinct, according to a new lawsuit filed this month by Geigel’s family.

The lawsuit claims Geigel was showing obvious signs of opioid intoxication, and police officers at the D-4 station did nothing about it.

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“He was completely neglected and it’s not ok,” said Jannette Gonzalez, Geigel’s ex-wife.

The incident happened in 2019 and the family is now suing Boston police and three employees for wrongful death.

The family says Geigel died because officers failed to seek a medical evaluation, obtain treatment or provide medical care themselves.

“You’re supposed to be responsible for those people that are in custody and they seemed like they didn’t care,” said Gonzalez, who had two children with Geigel. “They’re still hurt, they’re really angry, they want answers as to what actually happened when he passed.”

New Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox, a son of Roxbury, was once beaten by a fellow officer who mistook him for a fleeing suspect.

Geigel isn’t the only one who allegedly died in similar circumstances at D-4 during an opioid overdose.

Family members of Shayne Stilphen say he had trouble standing during booking and later could be seen slumped over in his cell in surveillance video obtained by NBC10 Boston.

His family filed a lawsuit against Boston police earlier this year, claiming officers failed to help him even though he was in obvious signs of urgent medical distress for hours -- just like the Cristhian Geigel case.

“We just don’t understand how someone could let that happen to another human being,” said Gonzalez.

The Boston Police Department says it can’t comment on pending litigation.

Attorneys with the ACLU are helping the Stilphen family.

Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, said in a statement to NBC10 Boston: “Like millions of other Americans, Shayne Stilphen had a disease for which he needed treatment, not punishment. Yet the ACLU’s complaint alleges that, over the course of several hours, Boston police officers repeatedly failed to respond to Shayne’s obvious medical needs, violating his constitutional rights and ultimately causing his death. Nothing can repair the loss felt by Shayne’s family, friends, and community, but police must be held accountable for the way they treat—or fail to treat—people in their custody.”

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