Its a busy news week for Arizona, first the redacted memo’s at the AG’s office and now Sheriff Joe’s Office gets sued by the family of an inmate killed in custody last December. The civil suit claims that Ernest “Marty” Atencio was assaulted by officers after his arrest and collapsed and died 5 days later and seeks a Jury Trial and unspecified damages.
The timing for this suit is not good as the Sheriff is running for his sixth term in office and is getting decent competition from Paul Penzone. The case is the latest of numerous suits faced by Maricopa County lawman Arpaio, who styles himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff” and is known for sweeps to round up illegal immigrants and no-frills treatment of inmates in county jails.
A federal judge is expected to rule soon in another suit brought against Arpaio, this one a class-action case by five Hispanic citizens who claimed they were stopped by the sheriff’s deputies because of their ethnicity.
Welcome to the wild west!