A sheriff in Arizona, known for his tough stance with prison inmates, is now being accused by a family of allowing a man to die by denying him seizure medications.
Joe Aarpaio, Sheriff of Maricopa County, is accused of refusing to give Joseph Phillippi seizure medications, putting Phillippi in a cell with concrete floor and walls where he later died.
According to legal documents filed in this case, Phillippi was arrested for trespassing after he was found unconscious, shaking and convulsing in a woman's yard. He was taken to jail where the family maintains in a federal complaint he didn't receive emergency treatment for 1 1/2 hours. The federal complaint goes on to record how Phillip suffered a seizure and slammed his head against the concrete floor, because he didn't have the anti-seizure medication called Keppra a doctor had prescribed.
The family declares officers didn't seek emergency care for Phillippi but rather "opted to accept transport within 30 minutes without lights and sirens." By the time the ambulance arrived, Phillippi was reported as "not oriented to place or time, was dazed, tremulous and diaphoretic."
Arapaio attained notoriety in 1999 when he put inmates into "tent" jails in Maricopa County and dressed prisoners in pink.
He bragged about his tough tactics that included denying inmates coffee and making them pay for their own meals. When told the food was worse than that given to guard dogs and that canines eat $1.10 worth of food daily and the inmate 90 cents, the sheriff was quoted by CNN as saying, "I'm very proud of that too
Many people have complained about Arapaio and his treatment of prisoners. There were 2700 lawsuits filed against him during the period 2004 - 2007.
He keeps getting elected over and over and according to polls is popular with 58% of the people of Arizona, declaring him good for the state.
Sara and Angela Phillippi seek punitive damages for wrongful death and negligence. They are represented by Joel B. Robbins and Anne F. Findling with Robbins and Curtin.