Family of dead inmate claims to have proof of beating

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PHOENIX -- The family of an inmate who died while waiting to be released on bail from the Fourth Avenue Jail says they have proof he was beaten.

"He was bruised up and had a couple of cuts on his head," said family member Antonio Apodaca of Raymond Farinas.

Family and friends held a funeral Wednesday for Farinas, who died June 3 while in custody at the jail. The funeral was packed, with dozens of people present to show support for Farinas and his surviving family members.

Relatives said they were originally told Farinas died while choking on a peanut butter sandwich, then they were sent a letter from the Office of the Medical Examiner that said his cause of death was under investigation.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office released a statement Tuesday that said Farinas died of natural causes, and that any bruises were not related to his death.

"I don't buy that for a minute," Apodoca said.

On June 20, a Maricopa County spokeswoman said the Medical Examiner's autopsy of Farinas is still pending and the cause and manner of death are not known at this time.

Farinas' sister, who did not want to go on camera or identify herself, sent 3TV pictures of Farinas which show some bruising and scratch marks. Before the funeral Wednesday morning, she said the photos were proof that Farinas had been beaten and that the family now wants to pursue a lawsuit against the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

Apodoca said the family wants to pursue legal action to protect future inmates.

"Something has to be done so this doesn't keep happening," he said, "We shouldn't have to be burying our kids just because they get a traffic ticket or go to jail."

3TV has sent multiple requests to conduct an on-camera interview with an MCSO representative. As of Wednesday afternoon, no one from MCSO has agreed to an interview.