Maricopa County Police Lt. Mike Stauffer Speaks Out Against Atencio Death Inside Jails of @RealSheriffJoe

Dec 26, 2011
1:41 pm

Looks like the holiday break has done little to tone done the pressure against Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, who calls himself America's Sheriff. Today, ran a statement by MCSO Police Lt. Mike Stauffer that condemned the actions of Arpaio's office —the office Stauffer works for—for its handling of the death of Ernest "Marty" Atencio. (The Guardian did a very detailed report of the incident here.)

As Stauffer, who is running against Arpaio in the next election for MCSO Sheriff, says in his statement:

As sheriff, I will not tolerate this behavior or this attitude. I will not tolerate those who stand by and allow this type of incident to take place. Know that the days of covering up behind stalling tactics are over. The cover-up is frequently worse than the incident itself. The MCSO is under a microscope. Even if it was not, I expect all the employees should understand that they are held to a very high standard of conduct and will be held accountable for their actions. I am outraged that even one employee of the MCSO would stand by as this incident unfolded and did nothing to intervene. I am outraged by the atmosphere and attitude fostered by Arpaio that allowed this to happen. Know that those who continue to carry this attitude will have no place at the MCSO.

Stauffer also referred to an undedited video from the MCSO jail where Atencio was being detained and where he died:

Stauffer concluded:


The vague statement issued by Chief McIntyre that night after the story broke suggests an attempt to cover up the situation. His statement indicates that there was no in-custody death that night, an outright falsehood. The week delay in releasing the video and the timing of the release further suggests an all out attempt to bury the story by the MCSO.

These situations require an open, timely release of preliminary findings. Delay and vagueness only fuel anger and distrust in the community. Hiding behind a wall of silence is not appropriate. The leader of the organization must be front and center and accountable to the community. Only in this way can the organization be trusted to do what is right.