WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) today sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch requesting a thorough and public investigation into allegations of mistreatment of detainees at Eloy Detention Center outside of Phoenix, Arizona, which lead to the deaths of two detainees. José de Jesús Deniz-Sahagún and a second un-named man reportedly faced abusive treatment, including beatings, tazings and solitary confinement while at the for-profit detention center contracted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Both men died while in custody.
“I am alarmed at reports that not one, but two detainees have died while in custody at Eloy Detention Center. The fact that some this information is seeping out of the seams, as opposed to being reported and addressed outright, only furthers the concerns. We are not learning of these abuses – and one case, not learning of the death at all – through official channels. We are only hearing from the detainees inside.
“Eloy Detention Center is in the business of detaining people for profit, which is troubling enough. But where transgressions occur, accountability must follow. Attorney General Lynch is a stalwart advocate for justice, and I am confident that her department will get to the bottom of this in an open and accessible way.”
ICE has confirmed four fatalities of detainees in their customs so far in 2015. The full text of Rep. Grijalva’s letter is available here and below.
June 16, 2015
The Loretta E. Lynch
Attorney General of the United States
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Attorney General Lynch:
I write to express my serious concerns about the recent death of José de Jesús Deniz-Sahagún, a Mexican national who died in custody at Eloy Detention Center, located outside of Phoenix, Arizona last month. Detainees held at this facility report Deniz-Sahagún being beaten by guards and imprisoned in solitary confinement prior to his death. Various news articles also indicate that a second man, whose identity remains unknown, was tazed by detention center guards despite significant medical problems, which resulted in his death.
I respectfully request that the Department Of Justice conduct an open and thorough investigation into the death of José de Jesús Deniz-Sahagún and the second man whose identity remains unknown. As the Eloy Detention Center is privately run, for-profit facility contracted by the Department of Homeland Security, it is truly essential that this investigation be transparent and open to the public.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation and attention to this request. If you have further questions please contact Norma Salazar in my office at Norma.Salazar@mail.house.gov or (202)225-2435.
Raúl M. Grijalva
Member of Congress
Jeh Johnson, Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security