Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Office to Release Video of Fight That Led to Latino Vet’s Death

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Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office tells TPM it will release a video as soon as today showing officers struggling with a Latino military veteran who later died of his injuries.

The veteran, Ernest “Marty” Atencio, was kept on life support at a Phoenix hospital for days after last week’s fight with officers inside one of Arpaio’s jails. The fight took place early Friday morning, just hours after the Justice Department accused the Arizona sheriff of running an agency that regularly violates the civil rights of Latinos.Atencio’s family gathered in Phoenix and made the decision to take him off life support on Tuesday.

“It should be today sometime,” sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Justin Griffin said of the video Thursday morning. Griffin said he planned to release copies to the media after detectives gave him one.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has been refusing to release the video for days, saying the investigation was still ongoing. It even refused to give a copy to the Phoenix Police Department, which was simultaneously investigating the fight because its officers originally arrested Atencio and were involved in the altercation.

An attorney for Atencio’s family accused the sheriff’s office of trying to derail the investigations.

“There is no reason why they cannot release that video,” attorney Mike Manning said earlier this week. “We’re concerned about it being destroyed. Because that’s what the sheriff’s office always does in cases like this…We want that digital video released right away.”

Manning could not immediately be reached for comment.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nick Martin is an associate editor at TPM in New York City. He came to the site in 2011 as a reporter for TPMMuckraker. Previously, he worked in Arizona, first as a staff reporter for a local newspaper and later as a freelance journalist. He also ran the news blog Heat City. Contact him at nick@talkingpointsmemo.com
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