Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio Victims Celia Alvarez, of Busted Jaw Fame, and Armando Nido File Suit

Courthouse News Service was the first to catch notice of two lawsuits just filed in federal and state court, respectively, by a Hispanic mom whose jaw was busted during an MCSO immigration raid, and a man allegedly run over by an MCSO deputy.

The first case is one you're familiar with if you follow this blog, and deals with Celia Alejandra Alvarez Herrera, (aka, Celia Alvarez) who says her jaw was messed up when she was slammed against the wall of a trailer she was hiding in during an infamous MCSO raid against the Phoenix landscaping firm Handyman Maintenance Inc.

HMI did work for the county, and many of its employees, including Alvarez, helped clean up and maintain the grounds around Arpaio's jails. Alvarez, who was then in the country illegally, used the alias Francisca Perez Mendoza to obtain work at HMI. I visited her in jail several weeks after the February 11 raid, and she still had not obtained proper medical care for her jaw. Her arm was also badly bruised after she was hit by a deputy with a clip-board. I could still see some of the bruising when I visited her in Estrella Jail.

Alvarez said she was given Preparation H to put on her arm to reduce the swelling. For her jaw, she was prescribed Ibuprofen, which she had to purchase from the jail commissary.

Once she was released as part of a deal involving the Maricopa County Attorney's Office and ICE, she finally saw a specialist who treated her for torn cartilage in her jaw. The doctor told me her injury was consistent with the story she was telling of her abuse. To this day, Alvarez suffers from pain in her jaw, and is being treated for anxiety because of the attack.

Her lawsuit is not the only one to emanate from the HMI raid, where MCSO deputies descended on the business in ski-masks. Another involves the father-son pair Julian and Julio Mora. The elder Julian is a legal permanent resident. Julio, his son, is an American citizen.

Despite their status, they were arrested, cuffed, and held for three hours until finally released. During that time they were verbally abused and humiliated. The ACLU picked up their cause, and is suing Sheriff Joe on their behalf.

Celia Alvarez is represented by lawyer Patrick Hall of the Gilbert firm Wallin Harrison.

The other lawsuit CNS reported on has nothing to do with HMI, but rather involves the claim of Armando Luis Nido, a U.S. citizen and resident of Tempe, who was followed home from Guadalupe by MCSO Deputy Jim Carey on February 10, 2009.

I can tell you that Carey is generally reviled by many of the Guadalupe residents I've talked to over the years, and has a rep for being confrontational and having a temper.

When I spoke to one of his superiors a while back concerning these complaints, the officer told me they were indicative of Carey being a good cop.

In any case, the allegation is that Carey tried to stop Nido for a broken tail light, but Nido slowly drove home instead, and eventually ended up getting run over by Carey after he exited the vehicle.

My colleague Ray Stern blogged about the case when Nido's attorney Robert Ramirez of the Phoenix firm Miranda Ramirez & Associates filed a notice of claim with the county for $750K.

Stern quoted from the notice concerning Carey's alleged actions as Nido lay screaming under the MCSO vehicle:

"Following the collision, Defendant Carey did not attempt to remove Armando Luis Nido from under the vehicle and in fact ordered others to NOT assist Armando despite his tearful pleas for help. Defendant Carey offered Armando Nido no assistance whatsoever despite his painful cries for aid. Witnesses have even indicated that as Armando Luis Nido was trapped under the vehicle he was punched and kicked in the head and face."

When family members attempted to take photos of what was going on, Carey attacked them too, the claim alleges. Carey supposedly Tasered, then arrested Nido's brother Rene. The claim says Carey hit and handcuffed Nido's mom, too.

In his August 2009 blog, Stern wrote that, "The claim goes on to detain Nido's injuries, which included severe road rash (he needed a skin graft on his butt), plus fractures of his ribs, pelvis and tailbone."

Concerning Nido, the CHS piece notes that, "All charges filed against the Nidos were dropped, according to the Superior Court complaint. The Nidos say sheriff's detectives recommended that the County Attorney's Office prosecute Carey for aggravated assault, but charges were never filed.

"The Nidos say there is a `culture of hatred' in Arpaio's department `to individuals who appear to be of Hispanic descent.'"

Or just a culture of hatred in general, though these days Arpaio's goons do single out Hispanics for the worst of it. 

Mark my words, when Arpaio is no longer sheriff, the MCSO will never live down the stigma of poor law enforcement earned during his rule. Even these days, long after the fact, if I say, "LAPD," whom and what do you think of, despite that department's progressive new leadership? Rodney King and/or Rampart.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons