Breach Birth: Arizona Deputies Allegedly Force Woman to Give Birth in Shackles and Refuse to Allow Her to Hold Baby

A new alleged abuse is receiving national action from the ever-expanding controversies surrounding Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. We have been following the scandals surrounding Arpaio from his crackdown on illegal aliens to use of his office for a reality show to his attack on the press to his shaming of prisoners to his defense of deputies who rifle through the files of lawyers. Now, he is accused of forcing Alma Minerva Chacon to give birth in shackles when she went into labor the night of her arrest. What is interesting is that this is not the first such case of a shackled birth.

It is not clear from the recent coverage when this incident occurred. According to reports, nurses repeatedly demanded that deputies unchain the mother, but they insisted on her giving birth in shackles. The deputies also reportedly refused to allow her to be unchained to go to the bathroom to give a urine sample.

When Chacon gave birth to her baby girl, the deputies reportedly refused to let her hold the baby and declared that, if no one came to claim the baby within 72 hours, she would be turned over to state custody.

I have not found a response from the sheriff’s office to these allegations.

The Eighth Circuit recently ruled in favor of a mother in another case of a shackled birth, here.

Notably, that court stripped the responsible officer of immunity and allowed her to be sued. The same may be true in this case.

It would be interesting to learn how much Arpaio has spent defending lawsuits and answering various investigations.

For the Arizona story, click here.

25 thoughts on “Breach Birth: Arizona Deputies Allegedly Force Woman to Give Birth in Shackles and Refuse to Allow Her to Hold Baby

  1. Granted this is a campaign against Arpaio but it say a couple of things.

    Lawsuits brought against Arpaio by employees, former employees, inmates, and the families of dead inmates have cost the county millions and Arpaio has misled the public about the cost to taxpayers of lawsuits.

    The case of Scott Norberg, who died in jail, is a good example. Arpaio has frequently said the $8.25 million settlement cost the county nothing and was covered by insurance. What he does not say is that, at the time of the settlement, the county had a $1 million deductible.

    Because of these lawsuits, the deductible for the sheriff’s office insurance coverage has increase from $1 million to $5 million per incident.

    http://www.arpaio.com/

  2. This is something I do not understand. Our ancestors came here. The Indians opps, Native Americans were here first. A deal was negotiated. A Colony was formed. Growth Occurred. More land was needed a new deal was negotiated. Then someone decided that the original occupants needed to go so many things were done to them. Now they have casinos and the last laugh.

    The point is why can’t we all just get along. We stole it from someone who stole it from someone else. And when we leave here we leave everything else behind.

  3. AY,

    Nice link. I hadn’t seen that site before. They really have it out for Ol’ Joe. Rightfully so, but they seem to have several bones to pick.

    Anyone got good odds on whether this little desert Nazi is going to leave office in plain cuffs or handcuffs?

  4. Given Arpaio’s attitude and the mounting stories graphically demonstrating his lack of basic human compassion and outright abuse, I am predicting a particularly ugly fall from power. Arpaio is everything wrong with right-wing nutters — strident, anti-social, and having much more power than their intellect justifies.

  5. Buddha:

    “Anyone got good odds on whether this little desert Nazi is going to leave office in plain cuffs or handcuffs?”

    Most likely “French Cuffs”, he is supposedly running for Governor and is 12-18 pts ahead of the democrat.

    Rcampbell is face down with his head in a pillow screaming at this thought.

    We here in Virginia just vote for Theocrats, desert Nazis are beneath us.

  6. Mespo:

    “Arpaio is everything wrong with right-wing nutters — strident, anti-social, and having much more power than their intellect justifies.”

    Then how come the dems in Arizona cant get rid of him?

    With all the abuse that has been laid out why isn’t the FBI and the Department of Justice crawling up his backside?

    And finally why do people keep voting for him?

    I was all right with pink jumpsuits and bologna sandwiches and no TV but the last couple of stories are out of control.

  7. The case of …… who died in jail, is a good example. Arpaio has frequently said the $8.25 million settlement “cost the county nothing” and was “covered by insurance.”

    ************************

    Is this not the problem with the republican logic. Lets see, Medical care is too costly because of lawsuits. Lawyers overcharge etc.

    Who the hell does he think actually pays the cost of this risk pool. I wonder what he will think when no one will cover this county as the risk is greater than the premium collected?

  8. The purpose of the prison system is to house those who have violated criminal laws and have been sentenced to a period of separation from society. There are many people, however, who believe that the purpose of the criminal justice system should be to exact vengeance on behalf of society. Sheriff Arpaio is such an individual. His view is that imprisonment should involve the constant humiliation and degradation of the individual as a daily reminder of society’s anger. Therefore, he effectively assumes the role of the judiciary by unilaterally enhancing the punishment imposed by the courts. The fact that he takes great pleasure in devising new methods for that purpose means that he is a sadist. His popularity among many people stems from the fact that his views are more widely shared than we would like to think. The best way to attack people like Sheriff Arpaio is through their wallets. Eliminating personal immunity for intentional wrongs would be a helpful start, combined with an exclusion of coverage in the county’s insurance policy for such acts.

  9. Mike A.,

    I’m very glad to read your postings again. What you said above shows both legal and psychological insight that desperately needs attention.

  10. Byron,
    You ask why Arpaio keeps getting reelected and the answer is simple. He uses fear to frighten the populace into believing they need a “strong man” to protect him. He also uses a supposed “tough on criminals” attitude that so many faux conservatives find attractive. I say “faux” because real conservatives are concerned with constitutional rights and freedoms. Finally, he is under indictment right now for corruption. The Arpaio technique is modeled after an age old technique used by authoritarian, sociopathic personalities to cow the populace into submission. It was characteristic of Hitler and Mussolini, but we have had many local examples of it in US history.

  11. “With all the abuse that has been laid out why isn’t the FBI and the Department of Justice crawling up [the Sheriff’s] backside?”

    The Sheriff’s Office has been under investigation for some time now (sorry, but I am not sure when these actually started). And a number of civil rights groups have been following his deputies for years looking for evidence of racial profiling. Because there are no charges pending, I assume that much of the outrage is hyperbole.

    As I recall, with respect to Scott Norberg, understanding that my knowledge of that matter was limited to the newspaper stories, much of the blame fell to a nurse in the jail (over whom the Sheriff had limited to no control). Mr. Norberg was high on meth when he was arrested and there was evidence to suggest that this was a factor in his death. (Yes, I understand that no one, high on illegal drugs or not, should die while in custody.)

    With respect to the cost of defending lawsuits: I do not know how the cost compares to other large metropolitan areas, but a year or two ago, based on information in the coyote blog, I calculated that the defense amounted to a few dollars per year per citizen of the county. To me this did not seem excessive based on my understanding that many lawsuits are settled even when the defendant has done nothing wrong. (Yes, I understand that there have been instances where the Sheriff’s Office’s actions were wrong.)

    Can any of you provide information about the costs for other cities and counties? For all I know, Maricopa County is on the low end of the spectrum, but I would be interested to find out. (Yes, I understand that google and yahoo are wonderful tools, but I, like most of you, have a job and need to get back to work.)

  12. “Finally, he is under indictment right now for corruption.”

    This was posted while I was typing my comment. I do not believe this is true, but if it is please provide some specific information.

  13. Mike S:

    Arapio and Hughey Long seem like good examples.

    After all of this exposure I cant see him being re-elected. If he is the people get what they deserve.

    Hopefully he wont run for governor of AZ.

  14. Arpaio is a felon and a creep. How he is not in jail himself is a wonder. Maybe Mike S. has it right that he is using the old Bush/Cheney theory of keep the people afraid and you can get them to do anything. Even give up their rights.

  15. Byron,

    If Arpaio was Governor of AZ he would be a bigger fool than Bush or Palin ever were as Governor. However he would be held more accountable than he is now. He is a Big Fish in a small pond so to speak.

  16. ““Finally, he is under indictment right now for corruption.”
    This was posted while I was typing my comment. I do not believe this is true, but if it is please provide some specific information.”

    mahtso,
    I blew it. I took the story of the FBI probe and the AZ Attorney General’s probe and scrambled it into an indictment in my brain. My mistake, thank you for catching my misstatement.

  17. Quote:

    GOP voters polled favor Arpaio for governor

    Survey results

    Survey of likely Republican voters on whom they would prefer for governor:

    Joe Arpaio — 47%
    Dean Martin — 22%
    Jan Brewer — 10%
    John Munger — 6%
    Vernon Parker — 6%
    Some other candidate — 3%
    Not sure — 7%
    Source: Rasmussen Reports

    http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/newsletter/319128.php

  18. Arpaio is a very, very smart man:

    Quote:

    Arpaio said his positive numbers are not surprising.

    “I don’t want to be egotistical,” he said. “But I knew where the results would come out.”

  19. Indescribably cruel. I would have had to be shackled first, if I had been this woman’s nurse.

    I remember a day in the ER when a young woman from a correctional center was admitted for a mental health evaluation. She was terrified and emotional. The deputies wanted to keep her in handcuffs and didn’t want her to speak to anyone alone — they wanted to be within earshot. I requested that they take off the cuffs and allowed her to write her responses. She sobbed uncontrollably throughout the evaluation, as she repeatedly referred to her children. The entire story is too long, but the outcome was positive — as positive as it could have been, given the circumstances. While I understand the flip side, there is no room for cruelty and a lack of humanity.

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