Ariz. sheriff, others sued over inmate's death

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Associated Press

Posted on October 24, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 30 at 7:07 PM

PHOENIX (AP) — The family of a man who died in one of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jails filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the sheriff and others.

The lawsuit alleges that officers beat the mentally ill man and shot him with a stun gun in an unprovoked attack — and that the "culture of cruelty" in Arpaio's jails is to blame.

The lawsuit by Ernest Atencio's family is the latest in a long line of legal claims against Arpaio over jail conditions and treatment.

Atencio had an altercation with police and jail officers while he was being booked on an assault charge on Dec. 15. He was found unresponsive and died after his family took him off life support.

Arpaio's office says Atencio was combative, while his family's lawyer said he wasn't.

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