It appears that Sheriff Joe Arpaio is continuing his efforts to turn Maricopa County, Arizona, into some kind of third-world hellhole:
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has chosen not to prosecute Arizona Department of Corrections staff in the death of inmate Marcia Powell.
Powell, 48, died May 20, 2009, after being kept in a human cage in Goodyear’s Perryville Prison for at least four hours in the blazing Arizona sun. This, despite a prison policy limiting such outside confinement to a maximum of two hours.
The county medical examiner found the cause of death to be due to complications from heat exposure. Her core body temperature upon examination was 108 degrees Fahrenheit. She suffered burns and blisters all over her body.
Witnesses say she was repeatedly denied water by corrections officers, though the c.o.’s deny this. The weather the day she collapsed from the heat (May 19 — she died in the early morning hours of May 20) arched just above a 107 degree high.
According to a 3,000 page report released by the ADC, she pleaded to be taken back inside, but was ignored. Similarly, she was not allowed to use the restroom. When she was found unconscious, her body was covered with excrement from soiling herself.
Powell who had been diagnosed as mentally-ill, was serving a sentence for prostitution, a victimless crime.
As usual, the authorities are refusing to prosecute the authorities because they just don’t think they have enough evidence:
County attorney spokesman Bill Fitzgerald issued the following terse statement.
“There is insufficient evidence to go forward with a prosecution against any of the named individuals,” he e-mailed me, declining to elaborate further.
And I’m sure if Powell’s pleas for help and slow death had been caught on video, this Fitzgerald badgelicker would have been whining that it “lacks context.”
I’d say that Joe Arpaio should eat shit and die, but really, after something like this, that would be letting him off easy.
(Hat tip: Jennifer Abel, who contrasts this bit of prostitute murder with the absurd worry about banning Craigslist ads for adult services.)