Recall Joe!

Page 5 of 7

Braillard's condition continued to deteriorate that night. By 3:15 a.m. on January 5, a detention officer wrote in a security report that Braillard was "kicking and was groaning/yelling" so loudly that she was waking other inmates in the dormitory.

Instead of seeking medical help, detention officers moved her to another room, where her agonizing screams would not disturb other inmates. Despite Braillard's obvious pain, there is no record that a nurse who came through the pod at 7 a.m. treated her. An hour later, Braillard was moved back to her bunk in the dormitory.

Jennifer Braillard tells me she didn't even know her mother was in jail until the night of January 4, when she learned of her mother's plight from some friends.

Worried about her mother's health, Jennifer says she called the jail as soon as the switchboard opened about 7 a.m. on January 5. She wanted to make sure they knew her mother was diabetic.

"I told them this was very important, and I also told them the type of insulin she needed," she says.

It's unclear whether Jennifer Braillard's call triggered detention officers to do something, or if Deborah Braillard's condition had deteriorated so much that it was no longer possible to ignore her plight. Jennifer Braillard says she's been told that jailers found her mother face-down on the floor.

Sheriff's records indicate that Deborah Braillard was finally transferred to a medical ward by wheelchair at 10:05 a.m. on January 5.

After her early-morning January 5 call to the jail, Jennifer Braillard says she never heard another word from Arpaio's detention officers concerning the condition of her mother. It wasn't until the evening of January 6 that she received an update.

It was bad news.

"The hospital called me and said to get there immediately, that she was in ICU," Jennifer recalls. "They told me she was in a diabetic coma."

Her mother drifted in and out of consciousness before finally dying on January 23.

Naturally, Jennifer blames the county jail for the needless death of her mother.

"Five days without insulin is ridiculous!" she says. "If they provided the care that she needed, she would not be dead."

Fact is, Arpaio is not concerned that another inmate has died because of deplorable neglect. He told me soon after he was first elected in 1992 that his job is to lock people up and take away their rights. Period.

Including, apparently, their right to live.

Joe Arpaio thinks it's good publicity for the public to hear about the atrocious conditions inside his jails. He says he's deterring crime.

The truth is, despite his jails being considered among the worst in the world by Amnesty International, their harsh reality has done nothing to reduce the sky-high property-crime rate in Maricopa County -- which is among the highest in the nation.

Meanwhile, Arpaio has botched his chief responsibilities as sheriff. He's wasted so much time with idiotic ideas that it makes me wonder if rumors circulating in Republican party circles that the 72-year-old's suffering from dementia are true.

What legitimate purpose did it serve for Arpaio to have John Walsh, a television crime show host, fly to Phoenix along with Walsh's eight-member support staff to conduct a meaningless swearing-in ceremony?

All the other county elected officials were content to be quietly sworn into office in late December. But not Arpaio.

He needed to have his ego stroked by diverting deputies, support staff and God knows how much money for the pomp and circumstance that featured the America's Most Wanted personality.

I wanted to attend this foolish event in late January to see what morons would set aside time from their day to kiss Arpaio's ass. But I was turned away at the parking lot of the sheriff's training center, as toothless local broadcast and daily newspaper reporters were welcomed inside.

"This is a secure event, and you're not on the list," a smartly dressed deputy told me after I provided my business card. "You'll have to turn around and exit."

I complied with the orders, knowing that I'm already considered a "threat" to the sheriff's safety. See, I've dared to ask him such questions as why he hides his personal finances from the public and why he treats celebrity prisoners -- such as crooner Glen Campbell and pro sports mogul Jerry Colangelo's daughter -- royally while those without connections get the patented tough-guy treatment.

After last fall's primary election, I was immediately accosted by members of Arpaio's Threat Assessment Squad and escorted out of the county's elections department headquarters inside the Phoenix Civic Plaza under the threat of arrest because I asked the sheriff when he would release information I had sought under the Arizona Public Records law.

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John Dougherty
Contact: John Dougherty