The following is a statement issued by Phoenix Police Department spokesman Steve Martos, regarding the arrest of Ernest "Marty" Atencio.
Martos states that Atencio was arrested for assault after displaying some very odd behavior, as you'll read. He also notes that the PPD believes its officers did not Tase Atencio.
He further noted, "We have no information at this time Mr. Atencio struggled with any of our officers prior to getting to the MCSO jail."
In other words, it's all on the MCSO at this point.
I have not received any further updates from the family. My understanding is that Atencio is still on life support at this time at St. Joe's.
UPDATE 4:29 PM: Atencio's brother Mike just called to tell me that Marty is still on life support, and that the family has retained the services of Phoenix attorney Mike Manning, a well-known and very successful legal foe of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Many of you have inquired about the of the arrest of Ernest Antencio. There are two investigations occurring simultaneously by MCSO and the Phoenix Police Department. The information I can provide is limited at this time due to these ongoing investigations.
On Thursday, December 15, 2011, just after 9 p.m., Phoenix Police officers were dispatched to the area of 2800 West Laurel Lane in Phoenix regarding a suspicious person. The caller, a resident of the area, advised our dispatcher a male individual was kicking at an apartment door at their complex. The victim caller also advised when she turned to call police, this individual followed her and confronted her in an aggressive manner. The victim caller believed she was in danger of being assaulted by this individual based on his actions however, the male suspect became distracted by a passing vehicle and began chasing it.
Officers arrived on scene and after speaking with the victim, arrested the male suspect who was identified as Ernest Atencio, a Hispanic male in his mid-forties. Ernest was transported by officers to the Phoenix Police Department's Jail Intake Center where he was processed to be booked into jail for assault.
After paperwork was completed and Mr. Atencio was processed, he was taken by Central Intake officers to the MCSO jail. We understand Mr. Atencio struggled with officers while going through the process at the MCSO facility. To date, we have not been provided with specific details as to our officers actions during this struggle, in part because we have not been provided any video of this struggle by MCSO.
We anticipate obtaining further information once MCSO completes their investigation. We understand, preliminarily, our officers did not tase this individual. Though we have not completed our investigation, we have no information at this time Mr. Atencio struggled with any of our officers prior to getting to the MCSO jail. We also understand, once MCSO staff took custody of Mr. Atencio and placed him in a safe cell, our officers had no further involvement or contact with him.
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Understand due to the ongoing investigation by both agencies, I am unable to provide further details regarding this incident. Regarding details as to what occurred at the MCSO facility, I must refer you to MCSO for comment or information.
Sergeant Steve Martos, Phoenix Police Department Media Relations.
UPDATE 12/28/11: For Atencio's obituary and funeral service schedule, please click, here.