Channel 3's report on Farinas' death
Given Sheriff Joe Arpaio's track record when it comes to dead inmates, it's difficult not to anticipate foul play in the death of Raymond Farinas, the latest Latino to die in MCSO custody. Particularly when Arpaio-victim Marty Atencio's family just filed notices of claim with both the City of Phoenix and Maricopa County for a $20 million total.
Farinas was arrested June 3 on weapons charges. Both outlets quote Farinas' mother Carmen Ramirez as saying she posted bail for her son. However, he was not released as expected.
Channel 5's segment on the Farinas death
Instead, she got a knock on the door, with two MCSO detectives telling her Farinas had choked to death on a peanut butter sandwich.
However, Ramirez told reporters for both stations that her son would never have eaten peanut butter because he was allergic to peanuts.
She also described as-yet unexplained marks on her son's body.
"I saw he had a cut on the forehead," Ramirez told KPHO. "On the top of his eye right here there was a big bruise. He had a large lump on the side of his head. On the back part of his arm he had bruises like they had hit him with something."
The MCSO has yet to comment Farinas' death. There's always the possibility of an explanation not involving MCSO wrongdoing, but Arpaio hasn't done much to earn credit in that department, what with the U.S. Department of Justice's recent allegations involving MCSO mistreatment of Latinos prisoners and past killings such as those of Army vet Atencio and Juan Farias Mendoza, whose brutal death in Joe's jails resulted in a $1 million settlement.
Of course, Arpaio's cruelty knows no ethnic boundaries. Indeed, over the years more of the high-profile deaths in MCSO custody have been of Anglos. At least in that bloodthirsty category, you cannot pin the bigot label on Joe.
UPDATE 3:05 PM: The MCSO has just released the following statement concerning Farinas.
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"While an official cause of the June 3, 2012 death of Raymond Manuel Farinas has yet to be released, an investigation shows that there was no physical injury by another inmate or detention officer during the 11 hours Farinas was in custody on weapons charges.
"According to the Sheriff's Jail Crimes Unit, there appeared to be no visible signs of any kind of trauma to Farinas. And while the inmate's family members are making various claims to the media, those claims are in direct contradiction with the medical examiner's office who has relayed to Sheriff's officials that it appears Farina, a 40 year repeat offender, died of natural causes."
FURTHER UPDATE: The AP reports the following, ",A former girlfriend of 40-year-old Raymond Manuel Farinas rejects the explanation offered by authorities in the June 3 death and believes that bruises and cuts on his body show that he was physically harmed while in jail." (read more)
Also, from Fox 10, the Tequila Party gets in on the action...