Lifeguard, police sued by pool manager who tried to kill himself, report says

A man from Poland who was in the middle of a bipolar episode and tried to kill himself is now he’s suing police and the lifeguards who saved him, according to reports.

Mateusz Fijalkowski spoke little English and didn't know how to swim when he worked in Fairfax County, Virginia, as an assistant pool manager during a summer program in 2016. He was hired to work at an apartment complex pool, trained to clean the pool, set out chairs and check the water's pH level, The Washington Post reported.

On his third day of work, the suit said, he started acting strangely, arguing with guests and talking to himself. He also ripped a girl’s wristband off her arm, saying that she could not use the pool. That’s when police were called. Court records said that Fijalkowski ignored police and kept blowing his whistle. Police had swimmers leave the pool area and had a Polish-speaking officer and Fijalkowski’s roommate to try to diffuse the situation.  He ignored both, and kept telling police, “I am the lifeguard” and prayed in Polish.

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Fijalkowski eventually got into the pool, and walked to the deep end, submerging himself in 8-foot-deep water and held on to vents to keep himself submerged, The Post reported.

Police watched as he stayed under the water for more than two minutes, cellphone video of the event showed. The video contains profanity and could be disturbing to some.

Court documents state that police prevented the supervisor to jump into the water until Fijalkowski stopped moving. Once he did, his supervisor and a lifeguard pulled him out with the help of the police. They did CPR on Fijalkowski until EMTs came and revived him with an electronic defibrillator, The Post reported.

Fijalkowski suffered cardiac and respiratory arrest and was taken to a local hospital, where he stayed for nearly two weeks for treatment before being transferred to a psychiatric unit for an additional six days. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder during that time. He has since returned Poland and is on medication to treat his condition, not having an episode since, The Post reported.

Fairfax County police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. is defending the officers and their actions, saying they were trying to avoid becoming physical with someone who had been acting violently and erratically.

But Fijalkowski’s attorney disagrees, saying that police are trained in these situations and could have stopped him from entering the pool or could have either rescued him themselves or sent the lifeguard in to rescue him.

Fijalkowski filed the lawsuit last week, and is suing because he said he has medical bills in excess of $100,000, The Post reported.