$7 Million Settlement Approved in Death at Jail Run by Arpaio

Mar 8, 2018

Maricopa County officials voted Wednesday to pay $7 million to settle a lawsuit over the 2011 death of a mentally ill man in a jail run by then-Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Credit Laura Segall/Reuters

The settlement resolves claims against Arpaio and his jail officers in Ernest Atencio's death.

Phoenix police, who arrested Atencio on a misdemeanor assault charge and were involved in his booking at the jail, remain as a target of the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says Atencio died after officers beat him and shot him with a stun gun.

The officers who arrested Atencio had concluded his erratic behavior before being brought to jail was due to mental illness, not intoxication.

Excluding the $7 million settlement, Maricopa County has paid $33 million in jail-related legal claims filed during Arpaio's 24 years as sheriff.