Sheriff Joe Arpaio's attorney, Michelle Iafrate, has doled out still another installment of jail video footage to New Times, and again it doesn't show how an inmate wound up dead in the custody of sheriff's detention officers.
It's the third release in a contentious public records battle that began in July, when the sheriff refused to produce any records from the death of inmate Juan Mendoza Farias.
The first and second releases of video came in mid-November -- about four months after New Times requested jail records, wrote a story about the sheriff's stonewalling, and then filed a lawsuit to secure them. This new video, like the previous two, doesn't show Farias or the guards who were pinning him down when he stopped breathing and later died.
The sheriff's own records state that Farias was handcuffed and alone in a cell when guards opened the hatch on his cell door and fired more than a dozen paintball-like pepper balls at him. Then, they fired Taser electric stun guns -- more than a dozen times, by one guard's account -- and deployed "the Devastator," a fire extinguisher-like mace sprayer.
Two hours later, during a separate altercation with 11 other guards, Farias stopped breathing and then died.
With each release of video, Sheriff's Office representatives have assured New Times that they've delivered all the video they have of the incident. Then, each time New Times writes a story about the lousy camera angles, the MCSO digs up still another video.
The Sheriff's Office has provided about 30 camera angles, but none point into the cell where Farias died. Jail investigators secured 51 camera videos of Farias in the days and hours before his killing, according to their reports on the events leading up to it.
Surely, one of them points inside the cell and shows what actually happened to Farias at the hands of the guards. The overwhelming point of the jail cameras is to show how inmates are faring in their cells. It's become obvious that Arpaio lawyer Iafrate's game is to keep the truth about Farias' death from the press and the public-- John Dickerson