AZ County Settles Final ‘Arpaio Death Case’ for $7M

The Maricopa County, Az., Board of Supervisors agreed to pay $7 million to the family of a man who died after a use-of-force incident in a county jail while former Sheriff Joe Arpaio was in office.  The decision follows a long line of high-dollar settlements shelled out to those who alleged excessive force and wrongful deaths at the jails during the 24 years Arpaio served as sheriff.

The Maricopa County, Az., Board of Supervisors has agreed to pay $7 million to the family of a man who died after a use-of-force incident in a county jail while former Sheriff Joe Arpaio was in office, the Arizona Republic reports.  The decision follows a long line of high-dollar settlements shelled out to those who alleged excessive force and wrongful deaths at the jails during the 24 years Arpaio served as sheriff. The $7 million payout to the family of Ernest Atencio will be split between the risk-management funds of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and Correctional Health Services, which provides medical care for the county’s inmates.

Michael Manning, an attorney who has represented plaintiffs in some of these cases, said it appears the lawsuit settled on Wednesday was the final “Arpaio death case.” It involved a 2011 incident in which Ernest Atencio died after officers allegedly punched him and shot him with a stun gun when he refused to take off a shoe. Civil-rights activists have long criticized what they said were inhumane conditions at Arpaio’s jails. Arpaio used the facilities to burnish his “tough-on-crime” image, often boasting about the unappetizing food given to inmates, or the heat they endured at the outdoor Tent City jail. Critics said Arpaio’s policies came at a high price tag, pointing to the loss of lives and often multi-million dollar settlements funded by taxpayers. Earlier cases drew even higher figures. The families of Scott Norberg and Charles Agster received $8.25 and $9 million, respectively, when the men died after being placed in restraining chairs. Arpaio lost his bid for a seventh term in office in 2016, and has been replaced by Sheriff Paul Penzone.  Tent City, the infamous home of inmates who wear pink underwear, is closing.

from https://thecrimereport.org