In 1992, Joe Arpaio won the Maricopa County Sheriff's race by running on a platform of fiscal responsibility. He bellyached that the incumbent, Tom Agnos, was costing taxpayers money because he had piled up $4 million in lawsuits for wrongful arrests. During his first term in office, Arpaio's goons killed Scott Norberg and ended up paying more than $8 million to his survivors. Norberg would not be the last.
In hindsight, Tom Agnos looks like a cheap date. In fact, since he's been in office Arpaio has rung up more than $60 million in payouts to the families of people who were tortured or even killed while in the Sheriff's custody. Then there's the tens of millions he pilfered to buy tanks and other nifty toys. And all the while he's been doing this, Arpaio has presided over the only county sheriff's office in the state that has seen an increase in violent crime. Expensive and ineffective. That the goobers still elect him, as he fleeces their wallets and makes them less safe, shows how strong their prejudice is.
So last December, when 44-year-old Gulf War veteran Marty Atencio was beaten and Tased by County deputies until he was unconscious, and then died days later, you knew another lawsuit was in the works. I hate the fact that, as a Maricopa County taxpayer, Arpaio costs me a lot of money and provides shitty service, but I despise his racism and police state tactics even more, and I hope the Atencio family gets every dime they're asking for (read a PDF of the attorney's filing here).
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