Video Shows Altercation with Combative Inmate - FOX 10 News |

Video Shows Altercation with Combative Inmate


Video just released from inside the 4th Avenue Jail shows deputies subduing an inmate who later became unresponsive. That inmate ended up on life support and died, igniting a maelstrom about practices in the jails.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he's releasing the video because he has nothing to hide. But others say this video shows excessive force was used.

In the video, you see Ernest "Marty" Atencio refusing to listen to officers. That's when they surround him and take him down.

MCSO says Atencio was being combative as he was being booked into jail the night of Dec. 15, refusing to listen to their commands. Phoenix Police brought him to the jail on suspicion of assaulting his neighbor.

As he was brought into jail, he seems like he was having trouble walking or keeping his balance.

But his attorney says toxicology results prove he had no drugs or alcohol in his system.

During booking, officers ask him to sit down. Atencio doesn't listen and keeps getting up. A Phoenix Police officer grabs ahold of him and tries to restrain him. Then MCSO detention officers move in to help. Pretty soon, those Phoenix officers have moved out of the way. It takes about half a dozen officers to subdue him.

From the video it's hard to tell how many times Atencio was tased -- it appears to be at least once. Doctors believe Atencio was tased 4 to 6 times.

Medical staff were brought in to check on him. The medical problems start when Atencio is brought into a safe cell. Detention officers took off his clothes to make sure he didn't hurt himself -- they say it's standard procedure.

Deputies hold Atencio down, his face up against the floor. That's when you see a detention officer make three forceful movements near what looks like his head. Another officer taps his fellow detention officer on the shoulder and he stops.

He stops moving. The taser light is on him, but we can't tell if the taser is actually deployed.

Atencio is left then left alone for 9 minutes – still not moving -- before deputies come back to check on him. They find him not breathing and start CPR. Atencio never wakes up.

An attorney for Atencio's family released this statement: "They are deeply grieving the death of their Marty and do not want their burden and hurt to interfere with the, joys, blessing, and good cheer that other valley families are looking forward to on the eve of the Christmas weekend."

Sheriff Arpaio says he will not comment until the investigation is complete.

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