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Arizona County to Pay Ex-Prisoner $325,000 in Jail Guard Beating

The Board of Supervisors for Pima County, Arizona has agreed to pay $325,000 to a former prisoner for injuries he received in a beating by jail guards that resulted in blood clots and a heart attack.

Clifford Linebarger, 29, was arrested at a local dentist’s office after a verbal altercation with his girlfriend over whether to provide the office with their children’s Social Security numbers. He was charged with suspicion of disorderly conduct and booked into the Pima County Jail.

He claimed that he was taunted and beaten into unconsciousness by jail guards and awoke with his mouth full of blood, pain in his right arm and severe chest pains. The incident was recorded on surveillance video. Linebarger was taken to a hospital and X-rayed, then later released. A post-release exam found he had an arterial blood clot and was experiencing a heart attack, according to his lawsuit against the county.

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department had previously advised Linebarger in writing that “the action taken by our employees was not justified. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.” No information was initially provided as to which staff members were disciplined or the nature of the discipline.

It was later learned that two Pima County jail guards, Justin Casey and Michael Beals, were sent to remedial training for defensive tactics. Beals was suspended for one day but the suspension was later overturned; Casey was demoted one rank.

Linebarger initially sought $1 million for the beating, which occurred in January 2010. His lawsuit alleged that Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik had “created and maintains a policy of excessive use of force by the officers under his command.” The county agreed to settle the case in February 2011 for $325,000, but did not admit fault. See: Linebarger v. Pima County, Pima County Superior Court (AZ), Case No. C20110348.


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Related legal case

Linebarger v. Pima County