Sheriff Arpaio of Maricopa County is facing two more lawsuits due to the mistreatment and death of inmates at his prisons. The details of the death of David McClurg are especially tragic. A diabetic, McClurg developed gangrene within six weeks after being detained. He was a pretrial detainee, which means he had not been convicted of a crime
His family maintains that he was housed in overcrowded conditions and not provided a diet necessary for a diabetic. Apparently McClurg’s diet changed so radically for the worse upon entering the Maricopa County jail system that it was the first time he experienced symptoms.
Before his death, David had to have toes and part of his leg amputated. Not only was McClurg robbed of his life, he also endured severe suffering unnecessarily.
The second lawsuit comes from a man who suffered two seizures that caused injuries requiring hospitalization. Kevin Smith says that upon entering the jail he provided the medication he is required to take to prevent the seizures, but jail staff refused to administer it.
But is it really such a shock that detainees are denied basic medical attention? After all, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care took away the Maricopa County Correctional Health Services accreditation in January.
Every horrific story that comes out of Arpaio-ruled Maricopa County becomes less and less shocking. Civil and human rights groups, activists, journalists, and bloggers have been sounding the alarm on Arpaio for years now.
It is our federal government’s responsibility to not just investigate officials who abuse their power, but to take action once the abuse is proven. And it helps if they don’t make it easier for them (ahem Janet Napolitano). Regardless of their accused or convicted crimes, detainees in American jails have basic human rights. To deny them is absolutely un-American.