Video of Latest Fatal Jail Beating Contradicts Arpaio's Press Release

By John Dickerson

Investigative reporters at KPHO Channel 5 have secured a video that shows one inmate brutally beating another inmate to death in Arpaio's jail. The sheriff refused to release the video, but KPHO sources were able to secure the footage by other means.

Click to watch the video from Channel 5.

The video directly contradicts the sheriff's press release about the May 1 incident, which claimed that guards immediately intervened. In fact, the footage shows it took the guards about 20 minutes to intervene. By that time, victim Robert Cotton had been beaten to death. Cotton was not a member of the gang that beat him, nor was he a violent offender. Channel 5 quoted a family member as saying he was awaiting trial for auto theft. His family is suing Arpaio for $2 million.

The station reported that Pete Van Winkle, a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, was charged with first-degree murder in the incident.

It wouldn't be the first time that Arpaio's staff has lied about what happened in one of his jails. Last month national accreditors revoked the jail's health care accreditation because jail staff had lied to them.

In another jail beating, Arpaio's staff has refused to hand over video that would show the final minutes of Juan Mendoza Farias' life. The alleged perpetrators in the Farias beating, however, were jail guards paid with county tax dollars -- not other inmates.

As New Times reported on September 11, Farias died after an altercation with 11 jail guards. Autopsy photos reveal dozens of bruises covering much of his body. New Times first requested that video on July 25 and recently filed a "complaint for special action to secure footage of the Farias beating. The sheriff is still refusing to release the video, which is public record.

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John Dickerson
Contact: John Dickerson