TUCSON (KVOA) – Two men arrested Friday night after a protest at the Pima County Jail were released Saturday morning.
More than 150 people gathered at the jail Friday. No More Deaths said the protest was a celebration for Frances Guzman’s birthday. She had asked the community to show up in honor of her son, Cruz Patino, Jr., who died while he was in custody.
Rosanne Inzunza’s 18 year old son died February 2nd while in custody at the Pima County Jail. “He was in perfect health, no health issues. I don’t understand, he was here on week and, he went to court and then we found out he was gone,” she said.
Inzunza was one of dozens of protestors gathering Friday night to draw attention to what they say is a growing problem at the Pima County Jail.
“People need to know. The community needs to know something isn’t right. We don’t know what’s going on in there but There’s too many deaths that are happening, IN people that are healthy and for no reason or dying. there’s something going on in there,” she said.
According to the Pima County Public Defender’s Office 21 inmates have died in the Pima County Jail over the past 26 months. “There is a concerning pattern of young men of color being found unresponsive in their cells and being pronounced dead either in the jail’s facility or shortly thereafter when they were taken to the hospital,” said Sarah Kostic, with the Pima County Public Defender’s Office.
Public Defender, Joel Feinman, said the community needs to know what is going on at the county jail. “If one or two people a month were killed in our schools, if one or two school children were killed if one or two church goers were killed the community would be up in arms. But because they are our clients, because they are poor, because they are indigent, because they are disproportionately people of color, it’s okay,” Feinman said.
News 4 Tucson has reached out to the Pima County Sheriff’s Office for comment, we have not heard back.