Minnesota jail deaths under increased scrutiny following incidents

Dillon Bakke should still be here. 

That's what attorneys Richard Student and Steve Meshbesher of Mesbesher & Associates allege in a recently filed federal lawsuit.

"It was unexpected and it was unnecessary and it was totally avoidable," said Student.

In August of last year, Bakke was asleep on his mother's back porch when a neighbor called police. He was taken to the Ramsey County Jail for petty drug possession.

Over the next few days, he started complaining of severe pain and began displaying neurological symptoms from a previous head injury.

The suit alleges instead of getting him medical help, jail staff moved him so he wouldn't bother other inmates.

"Four correctional officers who are the defendants in this case went to Dillon's cell, physically picked him up because he couldn't stand, and basically carried him to this segregation cell, put him down and left," said Student.

He was found unresponsive 30 hours later, and was taken to the hospital. He died of complications from a brain hemmorage two weeks later.

This isn't the first case the law firm has litigated regarding the alleged mistreatment of inmates at the Ramsey County Jail.

"It's kind of the same thing just happening again. An inmate or a detainee who obviously needs medical care, who if you found them in a different context... say in a store, or in their apartment, or at a bus stop, you would certainly call an ambulance and call for help," said Student.

This lawsuit comes as jails across the Twin Cities are under increased scrutiny.

On Wednesday afternoon, demonstrators met outside the Minnesota Department of Corrections to demand answers about the recent increase in jail deaths.

They're calling for a task force to be created to look at why there have been 15 deaths in Minnesota jails this year alone. Most recently, two inmates died while in custody at the Hennepin County Jail over the course of two weeks in September.

The death of another inmate in Ramsey County last month is also under investigation.

FOX 9 reached out to a representative from Ramsey County for comment on the lawsuit, but as of Wednesday afternoon, they have not responded.