FedEx Worker Attacked by Sheriff's Deputy During Routine Package Inspection, Lawsuit States

A local Fedex worker claims in a federal lawsuit that he was attacked without provocation by a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office deputy during a routine inspection of packages.

FedEx doesn't appear to be backing employee Larry Strickler in his lawsuit, though the complaint states that Strickler's co-workers witnessed the violent incident. Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the deputy, Sean Anthony Edwards-El, are named as defendants.

Neither Strickler nor his Peoria attorney, Kenneth Gerber, could be reached.

The allegations in the complaint, which was moved last week from county to federal court, leaves a few questions unanswered.

The FedEx courier had been at the company's location of 4475 North 43rd Avenue in Phoenix just before 8 a.m. on February 3, 2011, preparing to start his day on the road. At the same time, Maricopa deputies were at the office conducting a "regularly scheduled inspection" of packages set for delivery.

Strickler states in his complaint that he approached Deputy Edwards-El to talk with him.

Without warning or provocation, the suit states, the deputy assaulted Strickler, "grabbing him around the throat and forcefully pushing him backwards against a truck" in front of other deputies and FedEx workers.

Strickler's suit gives no further details about what happened.

We called the office and asked for Strickler, but he was out delivering packages. We talked to a supervisor for a moment about the incident, asking whether she knew why the deputy allegedly man-handled Strickler and what the company was doing about it.

"Where are you getting your information?" the FedEx supervisor asked. We told her, again, that we were reading from the lawsuit filed by Strickler.

She hung up.

We'll let you know if we find out more, and how the lawsuit goes.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern