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Sheriff Arpaio, others sued over inmate's death

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Marty Atencio's mug shot Marty Atencio's mug shot
Marty Atencio Marty Atencio

The family of a man who died in 1 of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jails filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the sheriff and others.

The lawsuit alleges that officers beat the mentally ill man and shot him with a stun gun in an unprovoked attack - and that the "culture of cruelty" in Arpaio's jails is to blame.

The lawsuit by Ernest (Marty) Atencio's family is the latest in a long line of legal claims against Arpaio over jail conditions and treatment.

Atencio had an altercation with police and jail officers while he was being booked on an assault charge on Dec. 15. He was found unresponsive and died after his family took him off life support.

Arpaio's office says Atencio was combative, while his family's lawyer said he wasn't.

Statement by Maricopa County Sheriff's Office: "The Sheriff's Office has already commented on our factual review at the time of Atencio's arrest.

"Today's complaint also named the City of Phoenix, Phoenix Police Officers, County Correctional Health employee.  Consistent with Phoenix Police Department and County Correctional Health's approach, we will not comment pending our review of the complaints raised today."

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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