Scott Norberg
Scott Norberg

Dead End

• On March 26, 1996, Jose Rodriquez, 39, died in a pool of his own vomit on a jail floor. His cries for help went ignored by Arpaio's jail employees. Rodriquez's dehydration, fever and twitching ultimately led to his death, even while inmates shouted for help.

• On June 1, 1996, Scott Norberg, 35, suffocated in one of Arpaio's restraint chairs. Detention officers wrestled Norberg into the chair and bound his mouth with a towel. They continued to beat and Taser him after he was handcuffed, surveillance video and court documents show. His family later won an $8.25 million settlement against Arpaio.

• Mentally retarded Charles Agster III, 33, was arrested for trespassing on August 6, 2001. Detention officers pulled a hood over his head and slammed him into a restraint chair. Agster was asphyxiated to the point that he became brain dead. He was pronounced legally dead three days later. In 2006, a federal court awarded $9 million to his family.


deaths in Maricopa County jails

• In 2003, Phillip Wilson was serving two months in Tent City for a nonviolent offense. Wilson was attacked by the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang and bludgeoned into a coma. He never recovered.

Deborah Braillard, 46, was documented as a diabetic in the jail's health records. Her cellmates say a nurse did not give Braillard insulin, and then detention officers ignored her when she went into diabetic shock. Braillard died on January 23, 2005, ultimately from lack of insulin.

• Legally blind and serving a short sentence in Tent City for shoplifting, Brian Crenshaw, 40, was transferred to solitary confinement after a tussle with Arpaio's detention officers. Six days later, he was found comatose in his solitary cell with a broken neck, ruptured intestines, broken toes, and severe internal injuries. Arpaio maintains Crenshaw sustained the injuries when he fell off his four-foot bed. Crenshaw died on March 14, 2005.

• In December 2005, Clint Yarbrough suffocated in a jail restraint chair. On April 18, 2007, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved an undisclosed settlement payout to Yarbrough's family in excess of $1 million.

• Months before Thomas Bruce Cooley, 44, was found hanging by the bed sheets in his jail cell, a federal inspector had warned Arpaio that the jail psych ward was a suicide waiting to happen. A 1996 Department of Justice report specifically cautioned that inmates could use "overhanging structures" to hang themselves.

• Three more inmates died in the same way as Thomas Cooley while in Arpaio's custody: Kevin Holschlag, Michael Sanderson, and Juan Vasquez.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >