A woman who was in the custody of Maricopa County Sheriff deputies in 2009 on forgery charges is suing the agency, saying authorities mistreated her while she was in labor and on her way to the hospital to give birth.
Miriam Mendiola-Martinez says in her lawsuit against the sheriff's office and others that county employees exhibited deliberate indifference to her medical needs and violated her constitutional rights as they kept her shackled before and after her 2009 Caesarean section.
The Arizona Republic reports that Mendiola-Martinez was pregnant when Scottsdale police arrested her in October 2009 on forgery charges. The lawsuit cites a recently released Justice Department report accusing the Sheriff's Office of discrimination.
The suit comes as a judge is set to hear arguments Thursday in another lawsuit that alleges racial profiling in Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's immigration patrols, a week after the release of the Justice Department's report on alleged discrimination.
U.S. District Judge Murray Snow will consider possible sanctions against the sheriff's office for its acknowledged destruction of some records of the patrols and a request by Arpaio's lawyers to dismiss the case.
Best Sports Pix of the Week
Ole! Arizona Grabs the Bulls by the Horns
Best Pix of the Week
Jobless Mexicana Flight Attendants Pose for Calendar
Our American Dream: Top Brain Surgeon Was Once Migrant Farm Worker
Feds Kicks Joe Arpaio Out of Immigration Enforcement Program
Man in Latest Sheriff Arpaio Scandal Dies After Taken off Life Support
Arizona Sheriff Arpaio Faces New Scandal After Arrested Man Clings to Life
Fat Joe Drops 100 Lbs. After Seeing Too Many Overweight Friends Die Young
Boxer Edgar Santana, The Pride of Spanish Harlem, is Back on Track
In her lawsuit, Mendiola-Martinez claims that detention officers ignored her cries for help because they were made in Spanish and she had to ask someone who spoke English to translate her complaints to the officers.
Mendiola-Martinez, described in published reports as the mother of two children, is said to have bought someone's identity to work as a cleaning lady for six years at Dillard's at Fashion Square Mall in Scottsdale.
Published reports say that Mendiola-Martinez was nearly seven months pregnant when she was arrested. State laws required authorities to keep her detained because of her undocumented status, the reports say.
The lawsuit claims an unidentified detention officer insisted Mendiola-Martinez be shackled to the hospital bed as she recovered from surgery.
The Sheriff's Office declined to comment.
The U.S. Department of Justice said last week that Arpaio's office has a pattern of racially profiling Latinos, basing immigration enforcement on racially charged citizen complaints and punishing Hispanic jail inmates for speaking Spanish. Arpaio faces a Jan. 4 deadline for saying whether he wants to work out an agreement to settle allegations. The Justice Department has said it's prepared to sue Arpaio and let a judge decide the matter if no agreement can be worked out.
Apart from the civil rights probe, a federal grand jury also has been investigating Arpaio's office on criminal abuse-of-power allegations since at least December 2009 and is specifically examining the investigative work of the sheriff's anti-public corruption squad.
No trial date has yet been set in the lawsuit by a handful of Latinos who alleged that officers based some traffic stops on the race of Hispanics in vehicles, had no probable cause to pull them over and made the stops so they could inquire about their immigration status.
Arpaio has denied the racial profiling allegations, saying people pulled over in the sweeps were approached because deputies had probable cause to believe they had committed crimes and that it was only afterward that deputies found many of them were illegal immigrants.
Arpaio's lawyers have asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed, arguing that those who filed the case lack standing to show they face a threat of future injury from the sweeps and people pulled over in the sweeps were approached because deputies had probable cause to believe they had violated a law.
This story contains material from The Associated Press.