Joe Arpaio's Victim Marty Atencio: Family Files Notices of Claim Totaling $20 Million in Wrongful Death Case

Equally disgusting is the account of one witness, who tells how detention officers secured a now-infamous mug shot of Atencio making a weird face for the camera.

"While Marty was having his mug shot taken," said the witness. "The guards were taunting him, telling him to `turn left,' `turn right,'and making fun of Marty's inability to follow instructions. As the guards made fun of Marty, they encouraged him to make funny faces and the photographer, a female detention officer, kept saying `let's make this one the Mug Shot of the Week.' After they took his Mug Shot, the detention officers brought Marty back to the holding tank."

(You can read the notice of claim to the MCSO, here; and the notice of claim to the City of Phoenix, here.)

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Check the two women dancing (top left) following Atencio's beat-down...

For those out there who will assert, despite evidence to the contrary, that Atencio somehow deserved his fate, keep in mind the testimony below of Cathy Boyd. It was because Atencio scared Boyd that he ended up being arrested by the Phoenix Police department:

"Marty did not physically threaten me at any time. He did not make comments that made me think he would harm me . . . . . I didn't want Marty to be arrested; he had not touched me, he wasn't verbally belligerent. I knew there was something wrong with him and I just wanted him to go to the psych ward, at 24th and Van Buren, to get some help, not necessarily go to jail because he had not done anything . . . .

"[The officer] was saying, `We can't take him downtown for 'this' because he didn't do 'that'" I understood the officer was looking for a reason to arrest Marty. All I wanted was take him downtown and get him some help. The officer said he was going to arrest Marty for verbal assault due to the fact Marty scared me. He asked if I was scared at any time. I said yes, when Marty's face was close to mine. My first thought was to push him away. However, I knew if I didn't instigate a physical altercation, I would be okay."

Previously-released Phoenix Police reports on Atencio's arrest, as well as accounts from staff at Fourth Avenue, make it plain that though Atencio was saying odd things and acting strangely, he did not deserve the treatment he received at the hands of MCSO and PPD officers.

I asked Manning about the contention of some interviewed by MCSO investigators that Atencio had at one point said he had smoked meth before being arrested.

"We are sure that Marty did not tell anyone at the jail that he had smoked meth that day," Manning explained. "His system was utterly free of illicit drugs and alcohol. MCSO frequently makes up justifications for their assaults on detainees."

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Hatton demonstrates a move to other officers after the Atencio incident...

Indeed, toxicology reports done by St. Joseph's Hospital with blood drawn from Atencio upon admission, and by the county medical examiner's office, back up Manning's assertion that Atencio had nothing illicit in his system.

Manning's notices of claim also blast the medical examiner's office for playing a "partisan role" in the investigation and for "stonewalling" the Atencio family's request for public records.

The veteran attorney is withering in his assessment of the medical examiner's conclusion that the manner of death in the Atencio case is "undetermined," when it in fact was, "so obviously a `homicide,' i.e., caused at the hands of other human beings."

In fact,  as Manning points out, it seems self-evident that Atencio's "lethal cardiac arrest," described by the county autopsy, was due to his treatment at the hands of his jailers.

Atencio was a veteran and came from a family of veterans. No amount of money will compensate the family for its loss. Though, given the facts in the case, a sizable award or settlement seems inevitable.

Will the electorate finally hold Arpaio responsible for a string of such unnecessary deaths over the years? Will the officers involved be held accountable for their deeds? Will County Attorney Bill Montgomery do his duty and seek indictments in the Atencio killing?

Sadly, I have to wonder if the answer to any of those questions will be, "Yes."



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17 comments
faithbaby17
faithbaby17

They are sick people who Will only b brought down for the better

faithbaby17
faithbaby17

You killed someone who meant something are you proud to call yourselves policemen when you wrongfully killed someone you should be asshamed of yourselves! You killed a veteran, an uncle, a father, a meaningful person to the atencio family. You deserve justice because you could have provented this but instead you made this happen. Police are suppose to protect not fight against someone who protected your country. Go pity yourself because I know there will be justice on all you heartless cowards

Fred Sanford
Fred Sanford

should have stayed where he belonged and this would not have happened

KAG
KAG

Well said! 

KAG
KAG

Aw, thank you so much!  My situation has indeed vastly improved since then. I got help thru the VA and am now on medications for Bipolar and Depression. I also now live in New Orleans.  ( I left soon after that incident)  I'm an artist and New Orleans has some wonderful things to paint.  I appreciate that.  :o)   

KAG
KAG

Thank you, I guess I was lucky to survive! After that, I did get help and was diagnosed with Bipolar, ADHD, and depression disorder.  I am now on medication and have a fairly normal life again.  I also got help with my addiction issues, and have been clean and sober now for over a year.  However, I had to do it in another city..I left Phoenix in Sept. 2010 after almost 20 years, and am now in New Orleans.  I do miss my desert, and my Mom and brother.  But it's not the same city I first came to in 1988, and I was just never going to go thru something like that again. There is alot to like about Arizona, the natural beauty of the desert, the fantastic sunsets and night starscapes out on the beeline, are some of the most beautiful I've ever witnessed.   But the political, legal, and law enforcement systems are some of the most backward I'd ever encountered, and what's more,seemingly designed to keep one entrapped for years.  That's too scary for me. btw, I am white and educated, and very much miss the Mexican food!!   

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Mr. Lemons, as always I have to wonder if the law enforcement agencies involved have initiated any internal investigations into possible policy violations. It certainly appears from the information in the civil filing that there would be policy and/or criminal violations with some of the LE people involved. If neither agency has initiated such an investigation you should be asking why not, if you've not already. Regarding MCSO I will have to assume, based on similar incidents in the past few years, that those involved are now considered eligible for promotion. I have watched the video many times and find the actions of this "officers" despicable, at best.

Eleanor Holguin
Eleanor Holguin

Montgomery is a fucking pussy, that's the problem. Too much power and not enough ethics as with most elected officials.

John
John

 While I can certainly understand where you are coming from, I none the less cannot accept it as the truth, least I would hate my own race.  In fact I believe you proved my point more correctly than you disproved it, when you stated ‘’Nazis’’ instead of ‘’German people’’.  The Nazis were in fact that group of nut cases of which I spoke.  We of course still have them today, and sadly right here in our  own Country, although minus one JT Ready as of late.  What makes a person, and of any given skin tone dislike or even hate those of another, I have wrestled with much of my life.  I have no answer, it’s simply something which I cannot understand, as hard as I have tried.  I cannot however in good faith join in the belief that such is a ‘’white thing only’’, no more so than I can join in the belief that the ‘’Illegal Mexican’’ is the cause of all of AZ’s troubles, and that ‘’Blacks’’ are prone to crime.  I will however give you this:  the ‘’Whiteman’’ has in fact over a great many years committed some pretty despicable acts, of which I myself take no credit nor blame however saddened that I am.  Peace brother.

John
John

 Darn good thought!  Perhaps we should ALL start picking up the phone?

Nudogg
Nudogg

But John, what took place in Germany had everything to do with racial heritage and hatred of that heritage.   Little is it known in this country that the heritage of the Semites in Nazi Germany was an African heritage.  Nazi's looked upon Semites as "non-whites" because their ancestors were black who resided in Africa prior to entering Europe.  We've all seen Semites that seem to have a darker tinge to them than most other whites of European descent, but most of us never think or say much of it.  Hence, Hitler hated blacks too. The thing is John, is  that, just  like back then, Americans waited too long before getting involved.  It's always like that though.  White Americans, generally, don't really bother with the plight of Americans of color until that plight begins to touch there own.  That is when there is reason enough to feel some solidarity with the plight of  the other.  Certainly, there are always a few exceptions like yourself.  But, by and large, it's usually just the opposite with most others. Consequently, we're in this mess that we're in.  

Coz
Coz

In order for that to happen, there would have to be honor involved, and thats just not going to happen with Montepoodle.

Idontlikeyou
Idontlikeyou

That just described the Newtimes as well! Lets rile everone up and get everyones blood boiling so that we can fight hate with hate! Really? Thats the best they can do? Come up with some actual solutions instead of fighting hate with hate.

Idontlikeyou
Idontlikeyou

Right, because "cops" don't pay taxes? I see you put a lot of thought into that post.

Nudogg
Nudogg

John, you make many good points.  They are well taken by the Nudogg.  There is much i would like to add to your thoughts in reply.  However, it would seem to me that this topic between us might be better served to remain in the thoughtful exchange we've already made.  This forum could never hold this complex and many layer conversation it would take to flesh out our thoughts. Thank you for your thoughtful reply  John. The peace of the divine intelligence be always with you brother John.

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