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Tuesday, June 11, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Daughters Blame Sheriff Arpaio for Dad’s Death

PHOENIX (CN) - A man died from a brain hemorrhage after Sheriff Joe Arpaio's officers refused to give him his anti-seizure medication and put him in a cell with a concrete floor and walls, his daughters say.

The family says the Sheriff's Department knew of Joseph Phillippi's medical history because he had suffered multiple seizures when he was denied his medication during a previous incarceration.

Phillippi had been arrested for trespassing and was taken to the Fourth Avenue Jail after he was found unconscious, shaking and convulsing in a woman's yard, his daughters say in the federal complaint.

They say their father did not receive emergency treatment until almost an hour and a half after he suffered the seizure and slammed his head against the concrete floor. Phillippi had been prescribed Keppra, an anti-seizure medication, his daughters say.

After Phillippi's seizure, officers "opted to accept transport within 30 minutes without lights and sirens" instead of seeking emergency care to expedite his release, his daughters say.

By the time Southwest Ambulance arrived at the jail, Phillippi "was not oriented to place or time, was dazed, tremulous, and diaphoretic."

According to the complaint, Arpaio's officers use a "quick release" procedure "to dump inmates with significant and emergent medical conditions so that any emergency medical provision would become the financial responsibility of the 'released' inmate rather than the county."

Even though Phillippi was injured during his incarceration, Arpaio's medical staff "told the ambulance dispatch that this was a 'private' call, and approved the 30-minute response time" though Phillippi "needed immediate medical care," according to the complaint.

Sara and Angela Phillippi seek punitive damages for wrongful death and negligence. They are represented by Joel B. Robbins and Anne F. Findling with Robbins and Curtin.

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