For Immediate Release

Contact: Lola Rainey

Local activists claim recent jail deaths are linked to corruption, racism and a culture of violence in the Pima County Sheriff’s Department

The community must reset it’s moral compass by demanding greater transparency and accountability from Sheriff Napier

TUCSON, Arizona, December 27, 2019​. In 2019, two men, David Maxwell and Francisco Ruiz died without ever having the opportunity to prove their guilt or innocence at the Pima County Jail. Each of their deaths were directly linked to excessive force encounters with correctional officers. Arrested at different times on unrelated charges, they were both denied pretrial release.

“Caging people for pretrial detention does not make our community safer,” said Lola Rainey, Director of the Tucson Second Chance Community Bail Fund, “David Maxwell and Francisco Ruiz would be alive today if the Courts had released them back into the community. Their deaths are the direct result of the culture of violence, racism and corruption that pervades the Pima County Sheriff’s Office.”

She added, “The community must reset it’s moral compass by demanding greater transparency and accountability from Sheriff Napier, his senior officers and deputies.”

Local community activists have scheduled a press conference for Friday, January 3, 2020, 9:30 a.m., at the Historic Y, 738 N. 5th Ave., Tucson, AZ 85705, to set out specific demands
to end the unchecked violence at the jail as well as to push for investment in alternatives to pretrial detention. A list that includes:

  • The demand for an FBI investigation into possible civil and human rights violations occurring at the Pima County Jail;
  • ●  The demand for an FBI investigation into the excessive force deaths of David Maxwell and Francisco Ruiz;
  • ●  The demand for the immediate demotion and removal of the Senior Officers in Sheriff Napier’s administration for their nonfeasance, misfeasance and malfeasance which has helped to create and support the corruption, racism and culture of violence at the Pima County Jail;
  • ●  A demand that City Court Magistrates make granting pretrial release to all defendants a general rule of practice;
  • ●  A demand that City Court Magistrates stop using cash bail to keep poor defendants caged in jail;
  • ●  A demand that all future excessive force related deaths occurring at the Pima County Jail be investigated by an outside law enforcement agency;
  • ●  A demand that excessive force death autopsies be conducted by an independent medical forensics expert not the Pima County Medical Examiner;
  • ●  A demand that any prosecutorial review of excessive force death cases occurring at the Pima County Jail —be conducted the State Attorney General’s Office or the Arizona United States Attorney’s Office not the Pima County Attorney’s Office; and,
  •   A demand that the Pima County Board of Supervisors end it’s unsustainable investment in “guns and bullets” and instead reallocate resources currently given to law enforcement to community human and social services which do far more to make us safe by disrupting the cycle of poverty, sickness and addiction that often leads to destructive acts.

70%-80% of those being incarcerated at the Pima County jail are there on pretrial status, meaning that they have not been convicted of a crime.