Originally published on October 9, 2014, at NationofChange.org
The mother of a deceased inmate has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against self-proclaimed “America’s Toughest Sheriff” Joe Arpaio. Found guilty of racial profiling in federal court and under Justice Department investigation, Sheriff Joe Arpaio oversees Arizona jails that have twice been ruled unconstitutional due to mistreatment and inhumane conditions. First voted into office in 1992, Arpaio has cost Maricopa County millions of dollars in settlements resulting from his campaign of abuse and corruption.
On September 30, 2013, Felix Torres was arrested on warrants for driving on a suspended license and failure to appear in court. After notifying officers of his history with ulcers, Torres waited for days before a doctor eventually evaluated him and diagnosed him with hernia pain. The doctor gave Torres an injection of a drug that should not be given to ulcer patients and had him treated for the hernia. After returning to his cell, Torres complained of severe pain but officers ignored his pleas. He was found dead in his cell on October 5, 2013.
“I don’t think the detention staff have done anything wrong in this case,” claimed Deputy Chief Jack Macintyre. “I think they’ve done exactly what they should do within the confines of the responsibilities for monitoring the care and custody of inmates.”