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$800,000 Settlement in AZ Jail Restraint Suit

In August, 1999, the Maricopa County board of supervisors, approved an $800,000 settlement for a pretrial detainee subjected to excessive force in the Maricopa County (Phoenix) Jail in Arizona. Richard Post, a wheelchair bound paraplegic was arrested and taken to the county jail.

Post claimed he was denied a catheter he needed to urinate and was ignored when he sought medical aid. To get medical attention Post flooded his cell. Jail deputies responded by ordering him to clean up the mess, then took him out of his wheelchair and shackled him in a "restraint chair" for several hours which compressed his spine and left him even more disabled by causing further paralysis.

Post's lawyers also claimed that jail officials withheld video tapes of the incident for two years and then doctored the videos they eventually did release. As part of the settlement the defendants did not admit to any wrongdoing or liability. The settlement was paid entirely by county taxpayers as the county's insurance policy has a $1 million deductible.

The Maricopa County jail is operated by Joe Arpaio, self described as "America's toughest sheriff."

While Arpaio's media grandstanding antics (tent jails, chaingangs, feeding prisoners green bologna sandwiches, making them wear pink underwear and striped uniforms, etc.) have won him a lot of publicity, the brutality and medical neglect endemic to his jail are just as widely ignored by the national media.

Source: Arizona Republic

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Related legal case

Post v. _____