Sheriff Joe Arpaio Faces New Lawsuits Over Last Year's Arrest of Demonstrators at Jail; One Protester Claims He was Beaten by Guards

patel sunita 1.JPG
Image: Democracy Now
Sunita Patel says in a federal complaint that she was acting as a legal observer when sheriff's deputies arrested her during a protest last year at the 4th Avenue Jail.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is being sued again -- this time by four immigration activists arrested last summer during a protest at the 4th Avenue Jail.

Two of the plaintiffs are lawyers who acted as legal observers during the protest; one demonstrator claims he was beaten by guards.

Their allegations stem from a July 29, 2010 demonstration near the "sally port" driveway entrance to the jail, where some activists chained themselves together to protest the state's hotly contested anti-illegal-immigrant law, SB1070, and the state's "climate of hate." Dozens of protesters were arrested by Phoenix police and sheriff's deputies, including local activists Salvador Reza and Alfredo Gutierrez.

 Two of the lawsuits were filed in federal court and two in Superior Court.

Gustavo Ramirez, a California resident, claims he wasn't blocking the sally port entrance before being arrested and thrown headfirst on the concrete of an "isolated" part of the jail's garage. As one deputy pressed his head to the ground, according to Ramirez's lawsuit, others "made sport out of kicking him in the back, legs, abdomen and other parts of his body, including his hands."
protest shot lemons small.JPG
Image: Stephen Lemons
The scene was tense on July 29, 2010, as police and anti-SB1070 protesters squared off near the 4th Avenue Jail.

Ramirez describes how he was traumatized and bruised by the alleged beating and 20 hours of incarceration, but it's unclear if he required medical treatment.

Audrey Williams, 57, of Santa Barbara, California, claims in her lawsuit that she was among those protesting SB 1070 at the jail when she was arrested. She says she was detained for 26 hours and denied the medication she uses to control the pain from her fibromyalgia and arthritis, resulting in extreme discomfort and humiliation.

The lawyers, Sunita Patel and Roxanna Orrell, claim they were supporting the protesters as clearly identified legal observers, but weren't themselves protesting.

Patel, an immigration activist and staff attorney for the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, states in her federal complaint she'd been photographing and videotaping the protesters on the sally port entrance before her arrest.

She admits that she walked onto the driveway after jail staff warned that anyone doing so would be arrested, describing how she'd just intended to the names of protesters she felt were about to be hauled off. Though she'd moved back onto the sidewalk, deputies singled her out and arrested her, she states.

During her 15 hours in jail, Patel claims, deputies grilled her about her place of birth. She refused to answer their question, at first. A judge later ordered her to be released on her own recognizance, but jail staff told her she couldn't leave until they determined her immigration status, "at which she point she relented and responded to their questions," the lawsuit says.

In the fourth lawsuit, Roxanna Orrell notes that she's a licensed attorney in Texas and Minnesota, and says she was working as legal observer on July 29, 2010, photographing the demonstrators. Orrell states that she was careful to obey all of the orders given by deputies at the scene, but was arrested anyway as she stood on a public sidewalk near the jail's entrance. Besides abusing her civil rights with the arrest, the jail staff kept her detained too long and kept losing her paperwork, she claims.

All of the criminal charges levied against the four protesters, including failure to obey a police officer and obstructing a governmental operation, were later dismissed in court.

They're seeking punitive damages and other remedies for their troubles.

Taxpayers ought to hope the county's kept its insurance premiums paid.

UPDATE: As of Monday evening, a judge was still considering the cases of the others arrested.

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37 comments
Lily Pad2713
Lily Pad2713

This to inform you of a person living and working in the United States illegally. The names that this person assumes are as follows: Gabriela Sanchez (her niece), Karla P. Durazo (her aunt), Patty Durazo (her sister),Julieta Sanchez (her aunt), Patty Sanchez (her sister/her niece) Rocio Sanchez (her sister), Mayra Viramontes (her cousin), Karen Durazo (her cousin),Kenya Durazo (hercousin), Karina Sanchez (her cousin).All of the names assumed by her can be substantiated through her facebook account which is under the name Gabby Sanchez.Her Employer is: Dr. Larry Stark   3201 W. Peoria Ave # A-100   Phoenix, AZ 85029Her assumed Social Security # is her Aunt's Soc. Sec. # 611-32-7757 (Karla P. Durazo) who actually lives in California.She drives a pathfinder with AZ lic. # AHT4587 Her address is: 2220 W. Mission Ln. #1095 (which is in Larry Starks name /  Phoenix, AZ 85017    co-signed for)  SRP Acct # 919-863-000    (which is in Larry Starks name)Her Phone # 602-628-3116   (which is in Larry Starks name)Family Assistance Administration Case # 00564738 (Gabriela Sanchez)Dental work provided under the name Patty Sanchez. And full medical (BCBS)is paid for by Larry StarkHer sons name is Carlos Flores-Sanchez and he graduated from Cortez High School.She was raised by her Grandmother who was a whore in Mexico. This young woman makes it easier for other illegals to obtain medications includingnarcotics and evade citizenship tests through the Doctors office that she works in.Also supplying them with false identification and documentation. I am very concerned about the illegal activities (Document Fraud, Identity Theft, Conducting crimes in America) that she is involved in. Please address the above issues as soon as possible.

Concerned Citizen 

Mistalee
Mistalee

According to Orrell's lawsuit, the charges against her were also dismissed.

So that makes at least two out of the four listed in this article whose charges were already dropped. Both legal observers who were not participants in the protest and who claim they were targeted by police, likely because they were videotaping the incident.

Yeah, they've got a good lawsuit going. Arpayaso doesn't care, it's your money, not his.

Guest
Guest

How far do you let people go before you take action? It is like children, when you give them that one step, they take tow and so forth. I think we all know what would have happened had the police let these people do something they were ordered not to. By their own admition they were in the wrong, which to my surprise, the charges were dismissed, which is why we are in this fiasco. If the charges were upheld, noone would even be threatening to sue over what they brought upon themselves.

Mistalee
Mistalee

"During her 15 hours in jail, Patel claims, deputies grilled her about her place of birth. She refused to answer their question, at first. A judge later ordered her to be released on her own recognizance, but jail staff told her she couldn't leave until they determined her immigration status, "at which she point she relented and responded to their questions," the lawsuit says. "

Pure bullshit. As if they can determine somebody's immigration status by asking them about their place of birth. This was just a way to harass Patel. She should add false imprisonment to the list and seek additional money.

Yourproductsucks
Yourproductsucks

Curious why this story omits the fact that those arrested for blocking the sallyport to the 4 avenue jail were all found guilty of the charges they were arrested for. All of the lies these four people are fabricating will be revealed since the events of each arrest were documented on video. Now continue frothing at the mouth over how Arpaio and his supporters are racist idiots. I apologize for interrupting your ignorant hate fest.

Former Republican
Former Republican

It's time for those who support and vote for Arpaio to pay for the legal expenses and damage. They too have blood on their hands with the destroyed lives, families and children, no different then those serving life for having been present at a murder even though they didn't hold the weapon. We consider the vote to be a weapon. You chose to vote for Arpaio, the county sheriff, who has been allowed to create a culture of fear, retaliation and unnecessary death/loss of life.

Tina
Tina

Chalk up four more Abuse of Power charges to add to Arpaio's record, along with the punitive damage awards to accompany them.  

  I think MCSO  holds the national record for successful lawsuits filed against it -- in numbers and in dollar amount awards -- against any police agency in the nation. Cowardly Arpaio always goes after the easy pickin's,  too, just like the four or five who were arrested a a couple years ago....for doing no more than applauding a public anti-Arpaio speaker at an open public Board of Supervisors meeting.  Naturally, after their arrests were dismissed, they too filed for and received punitive damages.  

Yvonne Grace
Yvonne Grace

What in the world is going on out there? Is Phoenix located in America? Today I called the attorney general's office to find out about arpio's status, and the woman I spoke to didn't even know that there had been any complaints against him!!!!!!! 

WHEN will this arpio cancer be sentenced? His department has been accused of causing numerous deaths, as well as unspeakable acts, traumatizing, humiliating and causing permanent injury to innocent victims. He has cost the county millions of dollars, and remains free to continue terrorizing the public. How many law suits has he caused? He is a psychotic, sadistic, arrogant, mean spirited person who is totally out of touch.

Supposedly he is being investigated by the Feds, as well as other watch dogs, for years. I wonder if they are just waiting for him to die, or retire, or his term to run out? Does ANYONE know why he is still out there? Who is responsible for this hold up, and what if anything is THEIR vested interest? 

This situation is outrageous!!!

Not surprised
Not surprised

Where and when do we say "no more" to Arpaio and his ineptitute?  Why did he handle this situation in a manner which, again, resulted in no charges and made us liable for more lawsuits?  Just craziness.

Walter Concrete
Walter Concrete

Sorry, but not everyone who sues has a case.  If you're too close to the line of confrontation in a situation like this then you're intellectually challenged.    They escalated their chances of becoming caught in the possibility of incarceration and prolonged detention.    They pushed that possibility into probability.    They deserve no compensation for being antagonists in a play for media attention.    

Jason
Jason

Here we go again with more of Joe's bullshit lawsuits.

I wonder how much money we taxpayers are going to pay the plaintiffs for the stupidity of the Flaccid Fool and his SS goon squads.

We need to boot Joe out, just like we did with Senator Pearce. Both are mentally ill and delusional old men.

Yourproductsucks
Yourproductsucks

What is a legal observer an where are they granted immunity from law enforcement when they break the law? Show me the link to the exception to the law you are repeatedly referring to. Patel can say what she wants, she was arrested after refusing to move from the sallyport doors at 4th ave. Her lawsuit is frivolous and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

Mistalee
Mistalee

 No, by their own admission they were NOT in the wrong, which is why they are suing. The charges were dropped because the charges were likely bullshit and would not stick. Two of those arrested were not even protesters, they were legal observers who were not participating in the action. And if the charges were upheld, they would surely still be suing.

Jason
Jason

The one good thing about all this is that Arpaio is playing right into Dennis Burke's hands with all these lawsuits, the DOJ investigations, the consent decrees, the wrongful deaths, etc., etc. 

One has to wonder when Burke will wake up from behind the wheel and actually prosecute Arpaio.

Jason
Jason

Welcome to Arizona, the most corrupt state in the United States.

Typical AG Horne. He's a Republican who's covering his own ass so that Joe won't investigate him.

Arpaio won't be sentenced until our U.S. Attorney, Dennis Burke, wakes up from behind the wheel and actually prosecutes this sick old man, which, BTW, Joe is actually bolstering Burke's case. Joe has gotten us sued 6300 times, with his legal fees costing us $50 million.

I agree that Joe needs to be booted. My sources in Springfield, MA, where Joe is originally from, tell me he is not welcome there. I hope Joe & Co. get indicted soon. We need to be rid of these elected criminals.  

Yvonne
Yvonne

Yes, he's crazy but what I don't understand is how many people around him, who let him get away with all this - how many other people can be crazy enough to allow it? Does he have some terrible thing to hold over their heads? ALL of them? Could he have an "in" with the powers that be? I wonder how many others will have to suffer from his poisoned mentality before SOMEONE - SOMEHOW puts a stop to it!

Pit Boss
Pit Boss

I don't agree, at least not in this case, although to be fair neither of us know the whole truth. The point is that they do have every right to protest, observe, scream, raise signs, shout at people, etc. in the vicinity of the public disturbance and there's no reason they should be detained unless they're clearly causing a public disturbance or keeping the cops from doing their job (and their job is to protect and serve, period).

This seems to be more of the same from these LEOs. Arrest or harass people and trump up BS charges to restore their order. They can always drop the charges later and risk a civil suit, but they seem ok with that around here. It's only taxpayer money.

Yvonne
Yvonne

You are biased, and probably as mentally challenged as arpio

Mistalee
Mistalee

As usual, you are arrogant in your ignorance.

Legal observers observe, but do not participate in demonstrations and protests. I have not referred to any exception to any law. Don't be an ass.

According to suits filed separately by both legal observers, they were not blocking the sallyport doors and were not disobeying police orders.

Which is likely why charges against both of them were dismissed. 

If you want to know the basis for their lawsuits, read the filings.

Yourproductsucks
Yourproductsucks

Obviously my sources are more reliable than a 2 month old court document and a story from an out of state newspaper article. You should break away from your google addiction and do some real investigative work Stern...and that is why your product sucks!

Yourproductsucks
Yourproductsucks

Hmm. Azcentral scooped you again!! Your product does suck Stern.

Mistalee
Mistalee

Obviously. Or one of the voices in his head is lying to him. 

Mistalee
Mistalee

Your comment sucks. And I just made you a steaming hot lunch. I ate it yesterday. You can eat it today. 

Guest
Guest

To also be fair, were these people not blocking the sallyport to the jail as stated in the article? I do believe when Police Officers and Detectives bring people to jail through that sallyport, then they are in fact keeping law enforcement from doing their jobs. For all anyone knows the Police trying to get into the jail to book people that day could have been ther to book murderers, child molesters, Domestic Violence offenders, drug offenders, etc. But they decided their reason for blocking the jail was far more inportant than the greater good of the residence who reside in this County. I believe they got what they deserve when it comes to them being arrested. As for the allegation of the man being beaten, the cameras in the jails as well as the cameras which were being used to document the arrests will be available for the inspection of the presiding judge. So before people continue to blame the Sheriff's Office for the lawsuits and for being arrested, why don't they take a look at themselves? We all know that people from outside of the County will sue just to be on the news and THEY are wasting your tax payer money, not the Sheriff's Office defending them. 

Yourproductsucks
Yourproductsucks

Their rights to protest were never in jeopardy. The protest was hours long and continued even after the arrests of these four liars. They were arrested after willfully blocking the sallyport of the 4th avenue jail and remaining there after repeated lawful orders to leave. Everyone there that was arrested asked to be arrested and were obliged.

Mistalee
Mistalee

Your sources are apparently full of shit, since you claim all of the protesters have been convicted. Of the 40 or so originally charged, ten were convicted AFTER THIS ARTICLE WAS POSTED, five cases are still under review and the rest of the charges have been dropped. 

Pit Boss
Pit Boss

I'm not referring to the people who were there specifically to block the sallyport, I'm referring to the two attorneys who made the "mistake" of stepping off the sidewalk or walking on the driveway to get the names of those arrested. There's no reason to arrest either of them--the cops were just being assholes, as cops often are to people who dare not obey their every word.

Mistalee
Mistalee

 Your facts suck . You said that all of the protesters were convicted.

This article was posted on August 1. You are citing an article dating August 2. Stern's information was factual and accurate as of the date that he reported it.

Got any evidence that the four protesters who are the subject of this article were all convicted? If not, you were full of shit and you are still full of shit.

Yourproductsucks
Yourproductsucks

Actually, the article I am referring to is from yesterday. In the article from an Arizona newspaper instates that 10 of the 15 defendants were found guilty of their charges. The other 5 were taken under advisement. Now that is in stark contrast to what Stark is reporting. The court document that Stark is referring to is dated June 6, 2011. The document asks that the charges be dismissed "without prejudice". I will not take the time to explain what exactly that means, however, it is a tactic used by the county prosecutors for a plethora of reasons and outcomes. Her charges being dismissed June 6 allow for them to be refiled June 7. Stark proved nothing with his links and, in fact, discovered I was right and he was wrong when the Arizona republic scooped him on the convictions. Perhaps you should return to describing how others can eat your fecal matter in clever ways, it seems to suit you better than debating facts.

Mistalee
Mistalee

Stern's facts are a link to the court document dismissing charges against Sunita Patel.  And an article from yesterday's Boston Herald saying the judge had not yet rendered a decision.

YOU, OTOH, are apparently referring to a JANUARY 11 article in AZCentral stating that the demonstrators were contesting their fines. That does not mean they were found guilty. That means they were convicted, that means they contested the charges.

You've got nothing. STFU and get back on the short  bus.

Yourproductsucks
Yourproductsucks

Read the azcentral article that is in stark contrast to sterns "facts"? Didn't think so.

Mistalee
Mistalee

Her words, supported by the fact that charges against her were dismissed. Also supported by the fact that she was acting as a legal observer. Legal observers observe demonstrations, they do not participate in them. That is how they are trained, and it is essential to their role.

All you have is bullshit. Ripe stinking crap. You have already been caught in a major lie; You claimed that they were all found guilty of charges stemming from the demonstration, and you got busted in that lie. Ray Stern has provided links proving that you lied.

You are a troll and you have no credibility. Piss off.

Yourproductsucks
Yourproductsucks

Her words...You apparently believe everything you read that bolsters your position.

Mistalee
Mistalee

 You are apparently unable to read. One of the protesters, a legal observer, did nothing more than step off the sidewalk, and then get back on the sidewalk.

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