Pasadena inmate's children file federal lawsuit after father's in-custody death

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They say their father was in severe pain for hours while in a jail cell before dying in a hospital days later.

The children of a Pasadena jail inmate who died in custody have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit. They allege their father was in pain for hours while in a jail cell before dying in a hospital four days later.

The 21-page lawsuit claims Mark Oswald allegedly suffered a grisly death after he was booked on a misdemeanor public intoxication charge June 5, 2015. His daughter, Dana Oswald, announced the suit with her attorneys Tuesday afternoon, just steps away from where he was booked into the city jail.

"The abuse he took in here at the Pasadena Police Department is horrific," she said. "He was only 63 years old. He didn't deserve to die, especially the way he did."

Eyewitness News was the first to interview Dana Oswald on Tuesday. She says she never got a clear explanation of what happened to her father. Her attorneys say they reviewed videos taken inside the jail, which show an intoxicated Mark Oswald slipping in his own urine.

"You can see his leg snap. You can see him go to the floor and for four hours, he's on the floor, moaning, wailing, asking for help. The city of Pasadena effectively ignored him," attorney Charles Peckham explained. "Because he couldn't articulate what was wrong with him, they wouldn't help him. They would ask him things like, 'Mr. Oswald, if you can't tell what's wrong with you, we can't help you.'"

EMS was called after several hours. Mark Oswald died four days later because of complications from his broken leg.

"The bleeding in the bone and the rhabdomyolysis causes a breakdown of other organs and that's exactly what happened to Mr. Oswald," Peckham explained.

Dana Oswald is still angry.

"I'm not married. So that's something that's going to be missing is him walking me down the aisle."

Bill Helfand, attorney for the city of Pasadena said in a statement:

"(The city's) policies and procedures comport with the Constitution and provide for the protection and safety of the people in custody."

Oswald and her sister are also suing the East Texas Medical Center - Emergency Medical Service. Eyewitness News had not heard back from the company by Tuesday evening.
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newsdeath in custodyPasadena
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