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.